Ireland

Bonfires

Does Size Matter?

As we fast approach the 12th of July, bonfires are being built in Loyalist communities across Northern Ireland. For many people bonfires are an enjoyable part of the annual July festivities, for others they are a scar on the landscape. Whatever your opinion though, bonfires are here to stay.  I have nothing against a good ‘bonny’, but, I will say that in my humble opinion, bonfires should be scaled back in size. Some of the bonfires that are built each year are truly gigantic, do they have to be so large?

I contend that they do not. After all, isn’t the point of them to replicate the signal fires lit across the high hills of Ulster to communicate the news that King William III had landed at Carrick? Those original fires were not massive edifices. I fully understand that in some areas, especially in the Greater Belfast area, having the biggest bonfire is a sort of badge of honour. There is obviously a lot of fierce competition. However, there are other factors which need to be urgently considered.

Some Eleventh Night bonfires are on a truly epic scale

Some Eleventh Night bonfires are on a truly epic scale

Safety First

Last “11th Night” I attended a bonfire in County Antrim. Whilst not by any means a record breaker the bonfire was still very large. Consisting almost entirely of wooden pallets, the fire was not very wide at the base but was quite tall. After it was lit it began to burn on only one side. A few minutes later and the inevitable happened- the bonfire collapsed and fell over. Fortunately nobody was hurt but I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before one of these really large bonfires costs someone their life. Shouldn’t the safety of the community, and especially the youth of the community, be paramount? Bonfires don’t have to be gargantuan.

Some Loyalist communities have switched from large, and quite frankly ugly, bonfires to the much smaller and neater beacons. These beacons are metal, usually wrought iron, cage like structures into which combustible bonfire type material is placed. They have a number of benefits: they are safer, easier to clean up afterwards, easier to light etc. I know that in some places pressure has been applied to community groups/representatives to make the switch from bonfire to beacon but that is a counterproductive tactic. Often communities simply dig their heels in and refuse to even consider a beacon. To bribe communities with the promise of funding for other things (children’s playparks etc) is downright reprehensible, though I know full well of several examples of such shady practice.

Flag Burning

I don’t condone the burning of flags on bonfires. On the field of battle, an enemies colours, once captured, are rarely desecrated let alone destroyed, the Irish tricolour is though, being routinely burned on 11th of July bonfires, just as Loyalist flags are burned on Irish nationalist/republican bonfires. I can understand the reasoning of the flag burners, even though I don’t agree with their views. For many Loyalists and Unionists the Irish tricolour is a flag that will forever be tainted by it’s association with many and various terrorist gangs. PIRA/SF, RIRA, IPLO, CIRA, OIRA, INLA/IRSP, have all used (or continue to use) the tricolour as their emblem. If you ask the young bonfire builders what the Irish tricolour represents, many of them will tell you that it is the flag of “the IRA”, arguably they would not be incorrect in such an assertion.

It's not just Loyalists that burn flags on bonfires as vividly demonstrated by this republican "anti-internment" bonfire

It’s not just Loyalists that burn flags on bonfires as vividly demonstrated by this republican “anti-internment” bonfire

Nationalist/republican flags will also continue to go up in flames every summer whilst the Union flag and Ulster banner continue to be burned on republican bonfires. This is a sad indictment of Ulster society but unfortunately that is where we are at in terms of community relations. We live in a “zero sum” society. If one side of our divided community does something, the other side will do the same. “Yous burn our flag and we’ll burn yours”.

An Appeal to Common Sense

Whether or not you agree with me on the issue of bonfires, if you attend the Eleventh Night festivities please use your common sense and keep yourself and those around you safe. Too much alcohol is never a good idea at anytime, and especially not in the vicinity of a large open fire! Orange men and bandsmen should know not to indulge too much, after all, the 12th is a long day for those involved in the actual parade.

Keep dogs away from the bonfire. Never throw glass bottles etc into the fire. Keep a close eye on the youngsters and try to avoid getting your eyebrows singed off! What will I be doing? I’ll be tucked up in bed. Like I said, the 12th is a long day. I might not take an active part anymore but still, a good nights sleep is essential the night before Europe’s largest outdoor cultural festival.

Advertisements

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part 9)

The 90s: Another Decade of Death

As the 1980s ended and the 90s began the situation in Ulster was more or less the same as it had been at the start of the previous decade. PIRA/Sinn Fein continued its murderous campaign whilst Loyalist paramilitaries attempted to force them to stop. Killings were followed by retaliatory killings. Violence was met with counter-violence. But whilst the UDA/UFF and UVF continued to target and kill men, and increasingly turned their sights on active republican terrorists, PIRA/SF continued to target men, women and children, often without regard to age or gender. Few could’ve foreseen in the first days of the 1990s that this would be the decade that would finally see an end to ‘The Troubles’. Indeed, many times in the 90s it seemed that the Conflict was, almost inevitably, going to escalate into a full-blown civil war. Indeed, all out war seemed more likely than peace. Yet before peace would arrive, before the final days of ‘The Troubles’, Ulster would witness some of the most awful and bloody atrocities in the whole sorry history of the Conflict.

Provo Godfather Gerry Adams. Still wedded to violence in the early 90s

Provo Godfather Gerry Adams. Still wedded to violence in the early 90s

The Provisional IRA were limited in their activities during this period because of the increasing effectiveness of Loyalist paramilitaries. Between 1989 and 1994 (when the CLMC ceasefire was called) the UVF and Ulster Freedom Fighters killed dozens of PIRA/SF, INLA/IRSP and IPLO activists as well as a large number of others who were providing Irish nationalist terror groups with information, financial and/or logistical support. This effectively neutered the Provo murder gangs in many parts of Northern Ireland. Despite this however, PIRA/Sinn Fein still did their utmost to cause havoc and commit murder. The Provos, becoming ever more desperate, sunk lower and lower, carrying out some of the most heinous crimes the ‘Western World‘ has ever seen.

Human Bombs

On Wednesday, the 24th of October, 1990, eleven members of the Provo’s ‘Derry City Brigade’ kidnapped 42 year old Patsy Gillespie from his home in the Shantallow area of Londonderry. While his wife and children were being held at gunpoint, Patsy was forced to drive his Vauxhall Nova car to a rural spot on the Co. Donegal side of the Border. Patsy Gillespie was then forced into a van loaded with 1,000lbs (450kg) of explosives and told to drive to the Coshquin permanent Border checkpoint on the Buncrana Road. Armed PIRA gunmen followed him in a stolen car to ensure he obeyed their commands, the Provo terrorists having already told Gillespie that his wife and children would be murdered if he did not follow their orders.  Four minutes from the checkpoint, the PIRA hoods armed the bomb remotely. When Patsy Gillespie reached the checkpoint, at 3:55 AM, he desperately tried to get out and warn the soldiers, but the bomb detonated when he attempted to open the door. The callous Provo bomb makers had installed a detonation device linked to the van’s interior light, which came on whenever the van door opened. As a ‘safeguard’, the bombers also used a timing device to ensure the bomb detonated at the right moment (ie. when the bombers were safely out of the way). Patsy Gillespie and five soldiers were killed instantly when the device exploded. Witnesses reported hearing “shouting, screaming and then shots” right before the explosion. The bomb devastated the base, destroying the operations room. The death toll would have been much higher if most of the soldiers hadn’t been sleeping in a recently built mortar-proof bunker. The blast also damaged 28 nearby houses, with many of the occupants of those homes requiring treatment for shock and minor injuries. At Patsy Gillespie’s funeral, Roman Catholic Bishop Edward Daly said that PIRA/Sinn Fein and its supporters were:

“the complete contradiction of Christianity. They may say they are followers of Christ. Some of them may even still engage in the hypocrisy of coming to church, but their lives and their works proclaim clearly that they follow Satan.”

Meanwhile in Newry, at the other end of Northern Ireland, members of PIRA/SF took over the home of James McAvoy (65). He was allegedly targeted because he served RUC officers at his filling station(!), which was beside the house. He was driven away in a Toyota HiAce van while his terrified family was held at gunpoint. At Flagstaff Hill, near the Border, members of the Provo’s ‘South Armagh Brigade’ loaded the van with a ton of explosives. James McAvoy was strapped into the driver’s seat and told to drive the van to Cloghoge permanent vehicle checkpoint. Before he drove off, one of the terrorists seemed to have a pang of conscience and told James McAvoy not to open the van’s door, but to exit the vehicle through the window. The cowardly Provo gang followed the van in a stolen car and turned into a side-road well before it reached its intended target. When James McAvoy stopped the van and climbed out the window, a soldier came over and began shouting at him to move the vehicle. Seconds later the device exploded. The soldier was killed outright and 13 others were injured. James McAvoy survived with just a broken leg. 21 year old Ranger Cyril J. Smith, from No.4 Platoon, B. Coy., 2nd Battalion RIR, was posthumously awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal, for leading James McAvoy to safety and trying to warn his comrades about the bomb rather than running for cover. Ranger Smith was a Catholic from Carrickfergus. He had recently gotten engaged. At about the same time, there was a third attempted “proxy bombing” in Co. Tyrone. A third innocent man was strapped into a car and forced to drive it to Lisanelly Army base in Omagh while his young wife and seven year old child were held at gunpoint. This third bomb weighed 1,500lbs (680kg) but, due to a faulty detonator, failed to explode.

A memorial to 'Proxy Bomb' victim Patsy Gillespie.

A memorial to ‘Proxy Bomb’ victim Patsy Gillespie.

These ‘proxy bomb’ attacks, or to describe them more accurately, involuntary suicide attacks, marked a new low, even for PIRA/Sinn Fein. A tactic so despicable, so disgusting, that it has not been copied by any other terrorist group anywhere in the world. Not even al-Qaeda, Hamas or Boko Haram. That alone is ample demonstration of PIRA/SF’s absolute lack of morality. To hold a civilian’s wife and children at gunpoint and force them to drive a van, laden with high explosive, to a target where the bomb will explode, killing the kidnapped man and anyone who happens to be in the vicinity, is a vile and cruel tactic. The work of individuals too cowardly to confront their so-called “enemy” face to face. Individuals too wretched and pathetic to wage war by the accepted standards of warfare.

The aftermath of a Provo "Proxy bomb" attack.

The aftermath of a Provo “Proxy bomb” attack.

Teebane: An Attack on the Entire Protestant Community

On Friday, the 17th of January, 1992, at a place known as Teebane crossroads in Co. Tyrone, the Provos carried out the single biggest planned mass killing of Protestant workmen since the Kingsmills massacre of 1976. Eight Protestant men, travelling home from work, were murdered and another six badly injured when a PIRA/SF roadside bomb exploded, destroying the Ford Transit mini-bus they were travelling in. The Provos later added insult to injury by declaring that the dead men were “eight collaborators engaged in rebuilding Lisanelly barracks”. It is very probable that the sick minded bigot that concocted that vile statement is now a Sinn Fein elected representative!

Teebane: The mass-murder of Protestant civilians coming home from a days work.

Teebane: The mass-murder of Protestant civilians coming home from a days work.

The victims of the Teebane bombing came from a wide area of Northern Ireland, from Doagh, Magherafelt, Ballymena, Cookstown. Many Protestant communities were deeply affected by the atrocity. One of the dead was Gary Bleeks (25) who had returned from England to his native Cookstown, taking up a job with Karl Construction Ltd., from Antrim. He lived with his elderly Grandmother, Elma. She later described how she and the rest of the young man’s family had learned of his death:

We waited in suspense from six o’clock. Didn’t know until ten. We rang the hospitals. He wasn’t admitted and we knew if he wasn’t admitted [to hospital] he must be dead. And a woman came yesterday and told us that her daughter had held his hand till he died. She asked him where he was from and he told her Cookstown. He was quick to tell her that. A lorry driver came and helped him till he died. And so it was a comfort, to know there was somebody with him, that he wasn’t dying on his own”

In a way the Teebane massacre was another case of “mistaken identity” by the Provo death squads. In the immediate aftermath of the atrocity the bungling terrorists had insisted that their innocent victims were employees of Henry Brothers, based in Magherafelt, a company that had been targeted repeatedly by the sectarian killers of PIRA/Sinn Fein. Needless to say that the Provos really didn’t care who the men worked for, just as long as they had been working at an Army base or police station, thus giving the hate-filled bombers an excuse to mask their deep-seated sectarianism, for Teebane was a sectarian attack. A deliberate act of savagery, directed squarely at the Protestant community as a whole.

More Dead Children: More Wrecked Lives

On Friday, the 10th of April, 1992, at about 9:20pm, Irish nationalist terrorism returned to London. A Provo bomb, containing one ton of explosives packed into a large white Volvo lorry, with a detonation cord made from 100lbs (45kg) of semtex, exploded at the Baltic Exchange, London. It killed three people: Paul Butt (29), a Baltic Exchange employee, Thomas Casey (49), and 15 year old Danielle Carter, a schoolgirl from Essex. Another 91 people were injured. Almost half of the wounded were women and children. The façade of the Exchange’s offices at 30 St. Mary Axe was partially demolished, the rest of the building extensively damaged.

PIRA/SF bombed the Baltic Exchange on 10th of April 1992, killing 2 men and a young girl. This was the sight that greeted those who came to inspect the damage the following day.

PIRA/SF bombed the Baltic Exchange on 10th of April 1992, killing 2 men and a young girl. This was the sight that greeted those who came to inspect the damage the following day.

The bomb led to the destruction of the Baltic Exchange which has now been replaced by The Gherkin. London had seen more than its fair share of PIRA/SF bombings and gun attacks but the murder of two men and a young girl was truly shocking. Irish republican apologists will try to warp the facts of the matter and claim that the civilians murdered that night were killed “in error”, but the facts speak for themselves. PIRA/Sinn Fein set out to destroy the Baltic Exchange and as much of the surrounding area as possible. The bombers didn’t care who died in the blast. They probably cheered when they heard that they had killed three ‘Brits’. PIRA/Sinn Fein’s sectarianism only being matched by their racist hatred for anyone and anything that is not Irish and ‘Gaelic’.

On Monday, the 12th of October, 1992, that xenophobic hatred was once again visited upon the innocent civilians of the UK’s capital. A Provo bomb gang left a small device, packed with ball-bearings and other deadly shrapnel, inside ‘The Sussex’, a busy pub on Upper St.Martin’s Lane in the popular Covent Garden area of the city. Five people were badly wounded in the attack. One of those unfortunate people, David Heffer (30), succumbed to his wounds the following day. The bomb attack on ‘The Sussex’ was just one of several such attacks in October of that year, although thankfully the other indiscriminate bombings caused only minor injuries to 12 people and no-one else was killed.

Any Irish republican reprobate who still foolishly clings to the notion that PIRA/SF did not deliberately target civilians should do some research. Not only did they target civilians, at times en masse, but the Provo thugs did it throughout the Conflict. From their emergence (aided and funded by the Irish government) in 1970, right up until their first ceasefire in 1994, PIRA/Sinn Fein targeted and killed civilians, deliberately, coldly, callously, without compunction. The sanitising of PIRA/Sinn Fein’s history needs to stop because it is farcical, it is damaging to the ‘Peace Process’ and it is insulting, not only to victims and their families, but to every decent, sane, rational person of a certain age who can remember ‘The Troubles’ as they really were, not as republicans would have the world believe they were.

NEXT WEEK: PART TEN – FROM WARRINGTON TO THE SHANKILL

What Ireland wants the rest of Europe to forget

Irish nationalists and republicans would like the world to believe that Eire (the Irish Free State) remained strictly neutral during WWII. They did not. Many in the Dublin government were quietly sympathetic to the Nazis. Some were more overt than others. One incident oft cited by Ulster Loyalists, which illustrates Eire’s pro-Nazi sentiments, is DeValera’s visit to the German Embassy to express his (and by default the Irish governments) condolences in the wake of Hitler’s suicide. Irish nationalists, who seem to be history experts to a man, either deny the incident ever occurred, or seek to downplay it. Every neutral country sent their condolences to Nazi Germany when the Führer blew his brains out they’ll say. But that is a lie. Merely diplomatic protocol they’ll say- a matter of good etiquette. That too is a lie. The most often repeated lie is the one that says ‘Ach sure it was only Dev. It was only one man’. So say the historical amnesiacs of Irish nationalism, but their lies are easily dis-proven.

Two days after Hitler and his consort Eva Braun committed suicide in their Berlin bunker, Irish Taoiseach, Eamon De Valera, who also served as foreign minister, and his aide, Secretary of External Affairs Joseph Walshe, visited the German Embassy in Dublin to sign a book of condolences for the departed Führer . They also met with the top German envoy to Ireland, Eduard Hempel, a committed Nazi . Irish envoys in other nations did likewise, including Leopold Kerney in Spain, who called on the German Embassy in Madrid to express his condolences and lament the loss of Adolf Hitler. Irish President Douglas Hyde also expressed his condolences for the Nazi leader.

And this after the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bełżec, Chełmno, Jasenovac, Maly Trostenets, Sobibór and a whole host of other extermination camps. After it had become clear to the world that Nazi Germany (and it’s allies, most notably Croatia) had committed genocide on a huge scale. After the full horror of the ‘Final Solution’ had become all too clear. Other (supposedly) democratic nations did not offer their condolences on Hitler’s death, for to do so would have been shameful in light of the Nazi dictator’s crimes against humanity. Indeed, no other Western European democracies followed De Valera’s example – he found himself in the dubious company of two European fascist dictators, Francisco Franco of Spain and António de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal, in voicing condolences over Hitler’s suicide.

By the time of Hitler's death, extermination camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau had already been liberated by the Allies.

By the time of Hitler’s death, extermination camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau had already been liberated by the Allies.

The global media saw it as an expression of pro-Nazi sentiment. An editorial in The New York Times said of De Valera’s visit:

“Considering the character and the record of the man for whose death he was expressing grief, there is obviously something wrong with the neutrality of Mr. de Valera.”

The New York Herald Tribune also blasted De Valera.

“If this is neutrality, it is neutrality gone mad – neutrality carried into a diplomatic jungle – where good and evil alike vanish in the red-tape thickets: where conscience flounders helplessly in slogans of protocol”

Many ordinary Americans also condemned De Valera. A Mrs.Walsh of New York wrote to a local newspaper saying:

“Have you seen the motion pictures of the victims of German concentration camps, de Valera? Have you seen the crematoriums? Have you seen the bodies of little children murdered by Nazi hands? Have you seen the living dead, de Valera? Skin stretched over bone, and too weak to walk?”

Ireland’s neutrality in a war that cost millions of British and Allied lives remains a messy and controversial chapter in European history. But support for neutrality was strong in the country, with many Irish even expressing sympathy for the Germans as an “anti-British” entity. De Valera had already inflamed the British government in 1943 when he sent a note of congratulations to Indian nationalist (and German and Japanese ally) Subhash Chandra Bose following the latter’s declaration of Azad Hind – a “Free India” government-in-exile“, which was basically a puppet regime of Imperial Japan.

David Gray, the U.S. ambassador to Ireland in the 1940s, believed De Valera stayed out of the war on the bet that the Nazis would defeat the Allies. Gray also contended that some top Irish officials were, in fact, colluding with the Third Reich. In addition, in the two years just prior to the outbreak of the war in 1939, Eire refused entreaties to allow German Jewish refugees and other victims of Nazi persecution to settle there. Practicing a policy of “Aryans only” up until the 1960s.

Sadly Anti-Semitism is still rampant in Ireland.

Sadly Anti-Semitism is still rampant in Ireland.

Interestingly, De Valera did not extend the same courtesy to Winston Churchill as he did to Hitler when the British statesman died in January, 1965. In December, 1962, Sir Ian MacLennan, the British ambassador to Ireland, wrote in a secret memorandum to the Commonwealth Relations Office that De Valera would never honour Churchill, still angered by his responsibility in “carving up Ireland” and for criticizing Dublin’s neutrality during the war. De Valera declined an invitation to attend Churchill’s funeral, but deigned to release the following statement: “Sir Winston Churchill was a great Englishman, but we in Ireland had to regard him over a long period as a dangerous adversary.”

These facts are inconvenient to Irish nationalists and republicans. They would rather deny these parts of their history rather than examine them. They would rather be selective with history rather than accurate. Historical revisionism comes naturally to Irish nationalists. It is done almost without thinking. Ireland likes to forget the parts of history that do not fit into the ‘romantic little Ireland’ narrative that has been so carefully crafted over the last hundred years or so. Irish nationalists simply ignore that which doesn’t suit them, they’d rather any wrongdoing was simply forgotten, not just by the Irish but by the rest of Europe as well.

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part 8)

Slaughter at Enniskillen

On Sunday, the 8th of November, 1987, the people of Enniskillen gathered at the town’s cenotaph to remember the dead of two World Wars. For people all over the UK, Remembrance Sunday is a solemn and quiet day. A day of reflection. It should have been like that for the people of Enniskillen too, but PIRA/Sinn Fein were to make that impossible in the most horrific and violent way possible. Enniskillen, the largest town in County Fermanagh, is a picturesque and rather sedate place with a long military tradition, the area having sent many soldiers to the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars. It’s proximity to the border with the Irish Republic, a ready escape route, meant it was an easy target for the Provisional IRA.

A Provo bomb exploded during the Remembrance Day service, killing 11 people. It was the highest death toll in a terrorist attack in Northern Ireland for five years. At least 63 people were injured in the blast, nine of them seriously. The device went off without warning at 10:45 am at the town’s cenotaph where people had gathered to pay their respects to the war dead. The bomb was hidden in a nearby hall. It blew out one of the building’s walls, showering the area with debris and burying people in several feet of rubble. The dead included three married couples, a retired policeman and a young nurse. Thirteen children were among the injured. One of the wounded, Ronnie Hill, 68, lapsed into a coma two days after being injured and never regained consciousness. H.M. The Queen sent her “heartfelt sympathy” to the people of Enniskillen. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said the bombing was “utterly barbaric“.

Some of the victims of the Provo's 'Poppy Day bomb'. Innocent civilians who went out to remember the dead of two World Wars

Some of the victims of the Provo’s ‘Poppy Day bomb’. Innocent civilians who went out to remember the dead of two World Wars

Even for the Provo death squads, the ‘Poppy Day Bombing’ was a low. Not satisfied with massacring innocent civilians, PIRA/SF were now massacring innocent civilians as they gathered to remember their honoured dead. Wherever in the world conflict has raged, and whatever the brutality inflicted by man on his fellow man, there has been a time-honoured tradition that the burial and commemoration of the fallen should be respected as sacrosanct. As terrible as the Enniskillen bombing was though, the 8th of November could have been a lot worse, for on the same day, PIRA/SF had placed a much larger device in the vicinity of a Remembrance parade by almost 200 young members of the Boys’ Brigade and Girls’ Brigade, 15 miles away in Tullyhommon. Had it exploded, the carnage would almost certainly have surpassed that of the Enniskillen tragedy. The victims would have been predominantly children. PIRA/Sinn Fein had deliberately set out to murder children, only good fortune and poor engineering on the part of the Provo bomb-maker prevented an almost unimaginable atrocity.

The ‘Fun Run Bombing’

On Wednesday, the 15th of June, 1988 at 8.50 pm, Irish nationalists once again shocked and sickened the world with a cowardly and unbelievably callous attack. The Provo cowards murdered six soldiers as the men made their way home after a charity fun-run. 4,500 people had taken part in the run, organised by Lisburn Borough Council (as it was then) and the YMCA to raise money for disabled children. Around 200 Army personnel had been among the charity runners. While the soldiers had been running the 13-mile (21 km) half marathon, a Provo murder gang had placed a 7lb bomb under their blue Ford Transit minibus. The soldiers, unaware of the deadly device under their vehicle, drove off. Nine minutes later, the van stopped at traffic lights at Market Place, in Lisburn’s town centre. As the van moved off, the booby-trap bomb detonated.

The Semtex device had been designed in a cone shape to channel the blast upwards (a so-called ‘up and under’ device), thereby causing maximum damage to the vehicle and killing as many people as possible, both soldiers and onlookers. The area around Market Place was crowded with people, including many teenagers and families with young children. In all, about 10,000 onlookers had attended the charity run. There was pandemonium as frightened parents searched for their children, whilst others rushed to give aid to the dead and dying soldiers before the Emergency Services arrived. Eleven civilians were injured in the attack, including a two-year-old toddler and an 80-year-old man. As well as the four men who had been killed instantly another soldier died on the way to hospital, whilst a sixth soldier died later that night after undergoing surgery for severe head injuries. The dead soldiers were stationed at Ebrington Barracks, Londonderry, and were returning to base when the bomb went off.

The aftermath of the Lisburn 'fun-run bombing' in which six soldiers died

The aftermath of the Lisburn ‘fun-run bombing’ in which six soldiers died

On the 16th of June, the Provisional IRA’s so-called ‘Belfast Brigade’ claimed responsibility for the bombing, promising to wage “unceasing war” against the Security Forces.  Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said that the Provo’s killing of the six soldiers was “vastly preferable” to killing members of the Ulster Defence Regiment or Royal Ulster Constabulary. In the wake of the bombing, the leisure centre where the soldier’s van had been parked was forced to remain shut for a time after the UVF (using their PAF cover-name) issued a warning that they regarded four members of staff working there as “legitimate targets“, inferring that the threatened men had provided information to PIRA/SF and had a hand in the bombing. Indeed, it would seem that someone had passed information to the PIRA bombers. Questions were raised as to how the Provos knew the soldiers were attending the charity run in Lisburn and how they recognised their unmarked van. Although no doubt, had the UVF/PAF or Ulster Freedom Fighters killed any of the threatened men, Irish republicans and the compliant media would have proclaimed their innocence in the usual, stomach turning way. The usual method employed by republicans and their pet ‘journalists’ is to almost canonise dead Irish nationalists, portraying them as ‘an innocent man’ or even as a ‘community worker’ or ‘human rights activist’, rather than admit that they were, in reality, political activists, terrorist collaborators and/or sympathisers, whilst at the same time labeling any Protestant (other than members of the Security Forces) killed by republicans as a ‘loyalist activist’ even if they were only a member of a flute band or an Orange Lodge.

The Murder of the Hanna Family

I would be the first to admit that I am hard to shock. Like many in Ulster (above a certain age) I am somewhat desensitised to violence. There is one incident though that sickens me to the very core. An incident that does shock me. I’am referring to the utterly disgusting, dreadful, cold blooded, sickening and cowardly murder of a family returning from a holiday. On the 23rd of July, 1988, the Hanna family from Hillsborough, Co.Down, (Robin Hanna, his wife Maureen, both 44, and their young son David, who was just 6) were returning home from a dream holiday in Disney World, Florida, when they were murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein psychopaths, almost certainly acting in collusion with members of An Garda Síochána.

There can be no excuse, no justification, to murder six year old boys

There can be no excuse, no justification, to murder six year old boys

The Provo’s alleged target was Eoin Higgins, a Catholic Judge, who had flown from New York to Dublin with his wife and daughter , on the same day as the Hanna family returned from America.  The Provo scumbags said that Judge Higgins ”was unexpectedly delayed” near the Border, while the Hanna’s vehicle, traveling on the Dublin-Belfast road, was “mistakenly sighted as the judge’s car”. Mr. Hanna, a plumbing and heating contractor, his wife and their youngest child, died instantly, when a 1,000-pound mine was detonated by remote control. How did PIRA/SF know of Judge Higgins’ exact travel plans? How did they even know which flight he and his family had been on?  If they were not acting in concert with the Garda (and possibly the Irish Army), how could they have known that Judge Higgins had been “unexpectedly delayed”? At the funeral of the 3 innocents the officiating minister said-

“The spokesmen who represent the killers have made their excuses and expressed their regrets. But the fact is that Robin, Maureen and little David are dead because some people set out with lawless intent and deliberate planning to inflict injury and death on other human beings. If it had not been these members of the Hanna family, it would have been the members of some other family. The plotters planned death and death is what ensued.” – Rev. Gordon McMullan

There are no words for the horror the Provos inflicted on the Hanna family that day. The PIRA/Sinn Fein leadership issued a snivelling, disgusting ‘apology’ for the mass murder of the Hannas. They spun a web of lies, admonishing themselves of any responsibility. All that statement did was to add insult to injury. Once again the Provos had demonstrated their inhumanity. Once again they had revealed themselves to be amoral, hateful, child killers. Ironically, on the same day as the Hanna family’s funerals, there was another funeral, a few miles away in Belfast. This however, was not the funeral of an innocent victim. It was the funeral of a despicable, low life bastard. PIRA member Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davison, a republican terrorist, sectarian thug and career criminal. An Irish nationalist fanatic. He was cut down by a UVF active service unit at his home in the Markets area of Belfast. Unbelievably, the Priest conducting Davison’s funeral tried to compare the Provo gunman with the wholly innocent Hanna family. I would like to say that I am surprised by the Priest’s sick comments, but I’m not. The hateful, repugnant slurs of that Priest have been repeated over and over again. Irish nationalists, and their apologists, have attempted to equate dead murder gang members with innocent victims like the Hannas. Anyone with a shred of human decency should be sickened by that. Anyone with a shred of human decency should recognise that there is a world of difference between an innocent child, murdered on his way home from Disney World, and a wretched, gutless PIRA gangster who was motivated by pure sectarian hatred. Sadly however, there seems to be thousands of people in Ulster who cannot see the difference. I would describe such people as being little better than Brendan Davison.

NEXT WEEK- PART 9

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part 7)

The Early 80s

The early 80s were a turbulent time in Ulster. PIRA/SF continued to target civilian and security force targets alike. The no-warning bombings and sectarian gun attacks continued. Meanwhile, a rejuvenated UDA/UFF was tracking down and killing leading Irish nationalists and republicans. The INLA/IRSP had been hit especially hard by the UFF Active Service Units, losing three of their ‘leading lights’- Miriam Daly, Ronnie Bunting and Noel Lyttle- in the space of just four months in 1980. But it was not only the largest of the Loyalist paramilitary groups that was inflicting serious damage on the Irish republican war machine. The Security Forces too were enjoying some success. Leading republicans had been convicted and imprisoned. PIRA/Sinn Fein, OIRA and INLA/IRSP had been infiltrated by double agents and were riddled with informers. By 1982/83 the number of violent attacks was decreasing and, at least for a short while, it looked as if the RUC and UDR, with the support of the Army, were winning. Some dared to hope that ‘The Troubles’ were drawing to a close. Sadly, such hopes were short lived.

INLA terror gang leaders Ronnie Bunting and Noel Lyttle, killed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

INLA terror gang leaders Ronnie Bunting and Noel Lyttle, killed by the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Despite the fact that the volume of attacks had dropped sharply, PIRA/SF still managed to carry out some truly shocking and wicked atrocities. On Monday, the 15th of March, 1982, Alan McCrum, aged just 11, was killed and 35 other civilians wounded when a Provo bomb gang detonated a large device, without warning, in the centre of Banbridge, County Down. A little over a month later the Provos attempted to emulate the awful carnage of ‘Bloody Friday’, though this time on a countrywide scale, when they set off no-warning bombs in towns across Northern Ireland. Wilbert Kennedy (36) and Noel McCulloch (32), were killed by a no-warning bomb in the quiet market town of Magherafelt, Co. Londonderry. Five other civilians were wounded. Meanwhile bombs were detonated in five other towns and cities- Armagh, Ballymena, Belfast, Bessbrook and Londonderry- causing widespread damage to property and injuring a further 8 people.

On Wednesday , the 7th of December, 1983, Edgar Graham, an Ulster Unionist Party Assembly member, was shot dead by a PIRA gang at the Queen’s University of Belfast. Graham was also a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the university. As the earlier murder of the Rev.Roy Bradford had shown, PIRA/Sinn Fein were uninterested in democracy, they couldn’t have cared less about Roy Bradford or Edgar Graham’s constituents, or the electoral mandate those constituents had given the two murdered politicians. For Irish nationalists/republicans it would seem that a democratic mandate only matters when it is given by nationalist/republican voters! Just 10 days after the sectarian murder of Edgar Graham, PIRA/SF once again decided to visit their hatred on the people of England. Three members of the police and three innocent civilians (including a journalist and an American tourist) were killed in a Provo bomb attack on Harrod’s department store, Brompton Road, London. Approximately 90 people were also injured as a result of the blast. Incredibly, PIRA/Sinn Fein later issued a statement claiming that the attack had not been “authorised by the Army Council” and that it “regretted the deaths”. I’m sure the weasel words of the mad bombers were scant comfort to the wounded and the bereaved.

The UUP's Edgar Graham, murdered by PIRA/SF.

The UUP’s Edgar Graham, murdered by PIRA/SF.

Nothing is Sacred to the Provo Psychopaths

Nothing is Sacred to the Provo Psychopaths, not even the Catholic Church. On Sunday, the 8th of April, 1984, the Travers family had just left St Brigid’s Catholic Church in Derryvolgie Avenue, South Belfast. Tom Travers, a local Magistrate, his wife and daughter, were making their way home after Sunday Mass when they were approached by two PIRA/SF gunmen who opened fire on them without warning. Mary Travers was shot once through the back and her father was shot six times. One gunman brought his gun to point-blank range at her mother’s face and attempted to fire twice, but the gun jammed. Tom Travers survived the merciless attack, his young daughter did not. Mary Travers, a teacher by profession, was just 22 years old. A young woman with her whole life ahead of her, cruelly cut down by unfeeling, inhuman terrorists. Many years later Tom Travers said:

“Mary’s murder was carried out by member of an evil and brutal criminal organisation. Some of her killers were members of the murder machine, self-named Provisional IRA. At least one was a member of political Sinn Fein… May I say that on the day my lovely daughter was murdered her killer tried to murder my darling wife also. At that time Mary lay dying on her mum’s breast, her gentle heart pouring its pure blood on to a dusty street in Belfast. The murderer’s gun, which was pointed at my wife’s head, misfired twice. Another gunman shot me six times. As he prepared to fire the first shot I saw the look of hatred on his face, a face I will never forget.”

After the attack the Provos claimed Tom Travers had been “a legitimate target because of his role in the British judicial system”. They also tried to claim that the bullet which killed the young schoolteacher, Mary Travers, had passed through her father’s body first. A post mortem found she was shot directly in the spine. PIRA/Sinn Fein are not only cowardly, amoral, sneak killers but also liars who would not know the truth if it came up and slapped them in the face. Their pathetic attempts to justify their repugnant actions only added insult to injury for the Travers family, and indeed, for all right-thinking people in Northern Ireland.

The Brighton Bombing

Brighton is a picturesque and somewhat bohemian town on England’s south coast. It features some unique architecture and has a laid back, cosmopolitan atmosphere, possibly because it is the (unofficial) LGBT capital of the United Kingdom. The bustling coastal town is very far removed from the divided, conflict scarred towns and cities of Ulster. Yet not even Brighton could escape the horrors of the Provisional IRA’s blood-drenched terror campaign. On Friday, the 12th of October, 1984, just before 3 o’clock in the morning, a Provo bomb containing around 20lb of Frangex (gelignite), exploded in the bathroom of room 629 of the ‘Grand Hotel’, Brighton. At the time, the hotel was the venue of the Conservative Party’s annual conference. The explosion tore through the building, leaving a gaping hole in the hotel’s façade. Had the building not been a solidly built Victorian structure, it is almost certain that part of the building would have collapsed, killing scores of people.

The aftermath of the Brighton bombing.

The aftermath of the Brighton bombing.

Five people were killed in the explosion, three of them women. 34 people were injured, with many of them left permanently disabled and/or disfigured. The dead were- Anthony Berry MP (59), Eric Taylor (54), Roberta Wakeham (45), Jeanne Shattock (52) and Muriel McClean (54). The Provo’s intention, so they claimed, was to kill Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her government. One can understand why PIRA/SF would regard the UK government as so-called ‘legitimate targets’, one can even understand the motivation for killing the PM and her Cabinet, after all, for Irish nationalists it is natural to wish to destroy the government of the country that , at least in theory, stands in the way of their aspirations. Why though did PIRA/Sinn Fein decide to target Thatcher and her Cabinet in such a haphazard way? The ‘Grand Hotel ‘ was packed with people that weekend, only a tiny fraction of whom were government ministers. Aside from the ordinary delegates and members of the Tory party, their wives/husbands and children, there were also scores of journalists, TV news crews, dozens of hotel employees and others. Clearly, given their ‘blunderbuss’ tactics, the Provos didn’t care how many innocent people had to die, just as long as they were able to murder a few members of the government and a few Tory grandees.

Today many republicans claim that the Brighton bombing was a “spectacular”. A hammer blow to the British government. A strike at the very heart of the Establishment. It was nothing of the sort. On the 12th of October, 1984, the Provisional IRA tried, and failed, to strike at the UK government in the easiest way possible. Rather than go after individuals, targeting one Cabinet member or another with, for example, an under-car booby-trap bomb or a well placed sniper, they instead chose to strike at the government in the one place, and at the one time of year, when they would all be gathered together (alongside hundreds of others), in a public, non-governmental, and unsecured setting, ie. the Party conference. Disregarding the amount of ‘collateral damage’ such a strike was undoubtedly going to cause, the Provos had no way of knowing which rooms the Prime Minister or government ministers (and their spouses) would be occupying, no way of knowing if they’d even be in their rooms at the time selected for the bomb to go off, no way to avoid causing huge damage to the building, and thus, no way to minimise civilian casualties. Of course, technically, all of those people targeted by the Brighton bombers were civilians, since regardless of the attitude taken by Irish nationalists, Margret Thatcher and her Cabinet colleagues were the democratically elected government of the United Kingdom. They were not Police or Army personnel, they were not volunteer soldiers of the UVF or Ulster Freedom Fighters, they were elected politicians. Like Edgar Graham and the Reverend Roy Bradford, they were democratically elected representatives of the people.  No, dear reader, this was no terrorist “spectacular”, plainly speaking, this was PIRA/SF using a large net to catch a lot of fish, in the hope that at least a few would be the fish they wanted! It was the only way the Provo murder gangs were ever going to stand a chance of killing Thatcher or any members of her government.

Collusion: The Murder of Maurice and Cecily Gibson

On the 25th of April, 1987, High Court judge, Lord Justice Maurice Gibson and his wife Cecily were murdered by a PIRA/Sinn Fein roadside bomb as they crossed the border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Murdered as they drove the short stretch of road between leaving their Garda escort and rendezvousing with the RUC officers assigned to accompany them on the rest of their journey home, the incident remains one of the more controversial of ‘The Troubles’, with evidence of Garda collusion prompting a deeply flawed independent review by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory. Lord and Lady Gibson had spent the night of April the 24th/25 th onboard the Liverpool to Dublin ferry. They had been in England on holiday to visit friends and family. Tired but looking forward to getting back to their Co. Down home, the Gibsons drove their blue Ford Escort onto the ferry late that evening and settled down to spend what would be, unbeknownst to them, the last night of their 42-year marriage together.

At 7 o’clock the next morning, the couple were met at Dublin port by two officers from An Garda Síochána , whose job it was to escort the Gibsons up to the Border in an unmarked car. As Lady Gibson, who was driving, was unfamiliar with the streets of Dublin, the two detectives took the lead for the first part of the journey, allowing the Gibsons to pass them as they reached the open road. An hour-and-a-half later, as the two cars reached the Customs post at Dromad, Co.Louth, Lady Gibson pulled over to allow her husband to get out, as he always did after receiving an escort, to thank the officers for their assistance. After shaking hands, the gardai followed the Gibsons right up to the Border before parting company. They watched as the judge and his wife drove across the frontier, seconds later there was an almighty explosion. The detectives spun round to see a column of thick black smoke rising into the sky. Lord and Lady Gibson (aged 74 and 67 respectively) were already dead: killed instantly by a bomb left in a stolen car and detonated by radio control as they drove by. The RUC officers assigned to escort the Gibsons on the Ulster side of the Border, were just outside Newry, minutes from the designated rendezvous point, when the bomb went off.

Maurice and Cecily Gibson: Murdered by PIRA/SF acting in collusion with An Garda Síochána.

Maurice and Cecily Gibson: Murdered by PIRA/SF acting in collusion with An Garda Síochána.

Eyewitness reports indicated that the stolen blue Ford Cortina that carried the bomb had been left in it’s final destination only 20 minutes before the Gibsons passed by. Lord and Lady Gibson’s travel plans were a closely guarded secret, though somehow the Provo death squad had managed to track them almost by the mile and the minute. Moreover, they had struck at the only point in the couple’s 100-mile journey where they were without a police escort to check the route ahead. In his 1999 work entitled ‘Bandit Country’, author Toby Harden alleged that elements within An Garda Síochána  in Dundalk had tipped off the Provisional IRA as to the Gibsons’ precise movements. This assertion was repeated in an article in the Irish News a year later. Both sources also claimed elements within the Dundalk Garda had fed other information to the PIRA/Sinn Fein enabling them to perpetrate a large number of killings in the Border area. It was these allegations, proven to be factual by the Irish government’s ‘Smithwick Tribunal’, that prompted the review by Judge Cory, who was tasked to re-examine all evidence relating to the case and surmise whether there was any basis for a public inquiry into collusion. Cory found “insufficient evidence” to warrant a public inquiry into the incident. But the later ‘Smithwick Tribunal’ found that Cory had been mistaken in questioning the reliability of intelligence that a member of the Garda had helped the Provos in the Gibsons’ murders, and in May this year former Northern Ireland First Minister, Lord Trimble, called for an inquiry into whether there was collusion. If such an inquiry was to take place, if it were to be truly independent, and if the conclusions of such an inquiry were to be arrived at without regard to the “political sensitivities of the nationalist/republican community”, (to quote the NIO), then undoubtedly the murder of this elderly couple would be revealed as yet another case of Garda/PIRA collusion.

Irish nationalists and republicans used to bring up alleged cases of collusion ad nauseam, in recent times though they have been strangely silent about incidents of collusion. Is it coincidence that they have become more reticent about discussing such matters now that collusion between PIRA/SF murder gangs and the organs of the Irish state is a proven, documented, undeniable fact? Did nationalists/republicans really believe that Loyalists were not capable of calling for inquiries into incidents of collusion? Maybe they have started to believe their own vile “all Prods is stupid” propaganda? Or, more plausibly, they did not believe that the British and Irish governments would ever accede to Loyalist/Unionist demands for inquiries. Whatever their thinking was, they must now surely regret propagandising the issue of collusion quite so vociferously. The amusingly simplistic slogan, “collusion is no illusion”, seems to have backfired on Irish nationalism rather spectacularly.

NEXT WEEK: (PART 8) ENNISKILLEN, THE ‘FUN RUN’ BOMBING & THE MURDER OF THE HANNA FAMILY

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part 6)

1980/81: Horror Upon Horror

As the 1970s drew to a close it was obvious to the leadership of the republican ‘movement’ that any military victory was impossible. They had promised their supporters much but delivered nothing. The Westminster government had, unconstitutionally,  prorogued Ulster’s parliament but that action was influenced by the undemocratic machinations of Heath’s Tory party, not by the storm of violence ad death unleashed by PIRA/SF. The Provos had promised that 1975 would be “the year of victory”, yet in reality, it was simply another 12 months of senseless barbarity.

The leadership of PIRA/SF had promised their deluded supporters that they could gain some kind of victory in a short space of time.

The leadership of PIRA/SF had promised their deluded supporters that they could gain some kind of military victory in a short space of time.

As 1980 dawned, few in Northern Ireland dared to hope that the 1980s would be any different to the decade just gone. It would though turn out to be somewhat different. Many people forget that for a period in the mid-Eighties, it looked as if terrorism in Ulster was being defeated. The number of PIRA/SF and INLA/IRSP attacks diminished and it seemed quite possible that the nightmare was, perhaps, drawing to a close. We now know, with the benefit of hindsight, that it wasn’t. The nightmare would continue, and indeed get worse, before it was finally over. The violence picked up again in the latter years of the 80s, marked by some of the most savage acts ever chronicled in the annals of conflict. The 90s, contrary to popular (mis)belief, were much worse. Ulster was taken to the very brink of Civil War on at least a few occasions. Though tentative discussions about peace were already well under way, few in Ulster would have predicted (relative) peace before the end of 1994.

The first years of the 1980s saw PIRA/Sinn Fein carry out some truly heinous acts. The continued slaughter of innocent civilians, the indiscriminate bombing, the ethnic cleansing of Protestants in areas across Northern Ireland, the fire-bombings and the kneecappings. The continued use of weasel words and grandiose language, used by PIRA/Sinn Fein to try to defend the indefensible. Most people in Ulster, at least of those who had not used wealth to insulate themselves from the realities of war, would have described themselves as being fairly hardened to all the killing and destruction by the beginning of 1980, but few could have envisioned the horrors about to be perpetrated by Irish nationalist terror gangs. Few could have imagined the depths to which the Irish republican thugs would stoop.

By 1980, Ulster's conflict had been raging for over a decade.

By 1980, Ulster’s conflict had been raging for over a decade.

1980

The first months of the decade saw much terror and death in Northern Ireland. On the 17th of January, three civilians were murdered when PIRA/SF detonated a bomb aboard a packed Lisburn-Belfast commuter train. Those civilians, Mark Cochrane (17), Abayoni Max Olorenda (35) and Kevin Delaney (26), had no chance of escape. Yet again, the Provo murder gangs had deliberately chosen to visit mass slaughter on the civilian population. That republican apologists even attempt to deny PIRA/SF’s deliberate targeting of civilians is pushing credibility to it’s very limits. The facts speak for themselves. On the 14th of May, 1980, PIRA/Sinn Fein killed Roy Hamilton (22) in an overtly sectarian gun attack on a building site in the Ballymagroarty area of Londonderry. The construction workers on site were almost all Protestants, a fact soon learned by the local Provo death squad, who decided that they could not have such ‘Heretics’ in their midst. Two gunmen were dispatched to the site and as the Protestant workers sat down to their morning tea-break they were fired upon. Roy Hamilton, a young man who was just out to do an honest days work, was shot and killed. Three of his workmates were wounded. On the 15th of August, Ulster was stunned by a cold-blooded and senseless double murder. Two Protestant civilians, William Younger (87) and his daughter, Letitia Younger (57), were found murdered in their home in the Ligoniel area of North Belfast. They had been repeatedly stabbed before being shot. No group ever claimed responsibility for the vile double killing (unsurprisingly). There was some speculation, no doubt carefully crafted within the Irish nationalist community, that the deaths of William and Letitia Younger were not ‘Conflict related’. Quite frankly I think that is nonsense. There is evidence which points to this brutal act having been the work of PIRA/Sinn Fein. 

Provo 'Mad Bombers' often struck civilian targets.

Provo ‘Mad Bombers’ often struck civilian targets.

The day after the Youngers were brutally slain inside their home another civilian, Colette Meek (47) was murdered standing outside her own front door. Mrs Meek was standing in the driveway of her at home at Alliance Avenue in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast when a PIRA/SF gang opened fire on a nearby Police patrol. The Provo gunmen, clearly not the best of marksmen, shot and killed the mother of four “by accident”. No RUC Officers were wounded in the bungled attack which left Colette Meek’s children without a mother.

The IRA claimed responsibility. They said they were sorry and that she wasn’t their intended target. It makes me angry…I never got to know my mummy. I was deprived of her when I was growing up. She was the best in the world; she was my mummy.” – Mrs Meek’s daughter (from ‘Ardoyne – The Untold Truth’)

Abduction and Torture

On Sunday, the 31st of August, 1980, Wallace Allen (49), an RUC Reservist and farmer, was abducted by the Provisional IRA from the cab of the milk lorry he was driving, near Newtownhamilton, Co. Armagh. His mortal remains were found nearby on the 12th of September. He had been tortured before being shot in the head. What suffering the poor man must have known in those 12 days PIRA/SF kept him captive. What agonies must have been inflicted on him?. This was the Provo’s ethnic cleansing of Protestants in Border areas in brutal action. Wallace Allen was given as gruesome and as violent a death as possible, to serve as a warning to other Protestants in the area (the few who had dared remain). The Provo’s message was as simple as it was chilling- “Get out or this will happen to you or one of your family”. PIRA apologists will shriek that Wallace Allen was murdered because he was a member of the RUC Reserve, but that is not the real reason he was killed. He was killed because he was a ‘stubborn Prod’ who not leave the place he called home. He was tortured for almost a fortnight before being killed as a warning to other Protestants in South Armagh.

Not content with abducting, torturing and murdering one Protestant in the area, the Provo psychopaths decided to slake their thirst for blood by abducting, torturing and murdering another Protestant man. This time their victim was Ross Hearst (56). On evening of the 4th of September, Mr Hearst had been visiting friend across the Border in Co. Monaghan in the Irish Republic when he was kidnapped by a PIRA/SF murder gang (almost certainly acting in collusion with local members of An Garda Síochána). His body was found several hours later, at Wards Cross near Middletown in South Armagh. Like Wallace Allen, he had been tortured before being shot in the head. Thankfully the duration of his suffering was much shorter than that of Wallace Allen.

Wallace Allen. Abducted, held prisoner and finally murdered by a Provo killer gang.

Wallace Allen. Abducted, held prisoner and finally murdered by a Provo killer gang.

At the start of December, the Provos murdered another housewife. This time their victim was Heather Pollock (53), from Strabane, who was struck by gunfire in her own home after yet another botched PIRA/Sinn Fein gun attack on the RUC. A mobile patrol had been passing through the area when a Provo sniper opened up on them. Rather than hitting his intended target though, the incompetent republican thug shot and fatally wounded Heather Pollock. She died in hospital two days after Christmas. Sinn Fein made a stomach churning statement, absolving their terrorist wing of responsibility and spewing out the usual garbage about “intended targets” and how Mrs Pollock’s murder was a “mistake”.

1981

On New Year’s Day, 1981, the Provos tried their old trick of making someone ‘disappear’. Their unfortunate victim was Eugene Simons (27), from Castlewellan, Co. Down. He was never officially listed as one of ‘The Disappeared’ because, purely by chance, his body was found in a desolate bog, near Knockbridge, Co. Louth, in the Irish Republic, in May, 1984. Eugene Simons had lain in an unmarked, shallow grave for over three years. His callous killers hadn’t even the basic human decency to allow his family to give him a proper burial. Why PIRA/Sinn Fein murdered Mr Simons is not known. Perhaps he was a suspected informer. Perhaps he once had a conversation with a soldier. It is more likely though that he was killed (‘disappeared’) because he had insulted or disrespected some local Provo godfather. PIRA/SF, like the Mafia, don’t like to be shown up as the petty thugs and bully boys that they really are!

Eugene Simons, 'Disappeared' by the Provos. Thankfully his body was later found, although by accident.

Eugene Simons, ‘Disappeared’ by the Provos. Thankfully his body was later found, although by accident.

On Wednesday, the 21st of January, 1981, the Provos once again shocked the civilised world with their barbarism and cruelty. That night an armed gang of ten Irish nationalist terrorists crossed the Border, hijacked two vehicles and went to Tynan Abbey, the isolated mansion home of Sir Norman Stronge (86) and his son James Stronge (48), located near Middletown in South Armagh. The Provo gang murdered the two men. Shooting them dead in their own home. They then bombed the historic building before making their escape. Following the brutal double murder, the Provisional IRA claimed responsibility, stating that it was a reprisal for recent attacks by Loyalists on republican activists (so much for PIRA/SF not reacting to Loyalist violence!). Over the previous six weeks, four leading Irish republicans had been killed by the UFF. Just a few days earlier, embittered Irish nationalist militant Bernadette McAliskey and her husband, a senior member of PIRA, had been badly wounded. It seems that PIRA/SF felt that murdering an 86 year old man and his son would somehow ‘even the score’ with the Ulster Freedom Fighters, who were targeting and killing the republican leadership, seemingly at will.

The Murder of Joanne Mathers

Joanne Mathers (pictured with her baby son), murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein because she was a Protestant.

Joanne Mathers (pictured with her baby son), murdered by PIRA/Sinn Fein because she was a Protestant.

Few incidents from Ulster’s dark past provokes as much disgust, as much horror, as the sickening murder of Joanne Mathers, a young wife and mother, cruelly cut down in her prime. Joanne Mathers was just 29-years-old when on the 7th of April, 1981, a cowardly PIRA gunman shot her dead on the doorstep of a Gobnascale home whilst she chatted to the man who lived there. Mrs Mathers was the mother of a toddler and was collecting census forms when she was ruthlessly killed. As Mrs Mathers casually chatted to the householder, a masked man dashed forward, snatched the clipboard she was holding with one hand, placed a gun to her neck with his other hand and fired. Mrs Mathers cried out and ran past the householder into his home. The man, to his credit, slammed a glass panelled door in the hallway shut in an attempt to stop the killer following, but the fanatical gunman kept coming, smashed through the glass door and as Joanne Mathers lay dying on the ground, took the rest of the census forms. He then made his escape whilst brandishing the murder weapon in the air as a deterrent against anyone attempting to apprehend him. Sinn Fein had issued a laughable diktat that no-one in the Irish nationalist/republican community was to complete or return their census forms, in a “demonstration of love and support for the Hunger Strikers”, but if that was the excuse for the murder of Joanne Mathers, why murder the young woman collecting the forms? Why not, as PIRA/SF had done so many times before, simply ‘make an example’ of someone in their own community who they knew disobeyed them and filled in the census forms? The answer is patently obvious. Joanne Mathers was killed because she was a Protestant. Because of the republican organised boycott of the census, anyone out collecting census forms was almost guaranteed to have been a Protestant. Going against PIRA/Sinn Fein orders by filling out one’s census forms was one thing, openly defying them by taking a job collecting census forms was quite another, therefore, those going around the doors collecting the forms were bound to be from the Protestant community. Joanne Mathers was murdered because of her perceived religious affiliation.

Former RUC Special Branch agent Raymond Gilmour lays responsibility for Mrs Mather’s death squarely at the feet of Martin McGuinness. In a revised edition of his bestselling book ‘What Price The Truth’, Gilmour states:

“Nothing, and I mean nothing, happened in Derry without the say so and nod from Martin McGuinness. He was top of the pile. There was no one higher up the ladder than him. McGuinness was the power behind the throne in Derry. Everything had to be cleared through McGuinness first. So I can say with absolute certainty that McGuinness gave the order to kill Mrs Mathers.’’

Raymond Gilmour was in a position to know. Martin McGuinness, Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead, has much innocent blood on his hands, would any Loyalist be surprised to learn that he gave the order for a young wife and mother to be murdered? 

Did Martin McGuinness (circled) order the murder of Joanne Mathers?

Did Martin McGuinness (circled) order the murder of Joanne Mathers?

Desmond and Eric Guiney

On the 5th of May, 1981, PIRA gunman and firebomber, Bobby Sands, died in Long Kesh. Sands had been on hunger strike for 66 days. When news of Sands’ death broke, the Irish nationalist/republican community erupted (this is the same community who, it is claimed, never supported the Provisional IRA!). There was widespread rioting, disorder and destruction of property. Eric Guiney (45) a local milkman, and his son Desmond Guiney (14), both Protestant civilians, were driving along the New Lodge Road in North Belfast. When they got to the junction of the Antrim Road they came under sustained attack from Irish nationalist stone throwers. Eric Guiney had his window down and was struck on the head by one the missiles thrown by the baying republican mob. Their little milk lorry crashed into a lamp-post and Desmond went through the windscreen. When the ambulance and fire brigade arrived to help the injured man and his son, they too came under attack from the stone throwing thugs. Eric and Desmond were taken to the Mater Hospital, where both were sent immediately to the Intensive Care ward.

The aftermath of the vicious attack on Eric and Desmond Guiney.

The aftermath of the vicious attack on Eric and Desmond Guiney.

Desmond Guiney died of his injuries three days later. His mother was with him when he finally succumbed to his horrific injuries. His funeral was attended by thousands of people, including his traumatised school friends. Eric Guiney never regained consciousness after the crash and was not even aware of his son’s death. He died on the 13th of May. Many Irish republican sympathisers laud Bobby Sands as some sort of hero, but how many such people even know the names- Desmond and Eric Guiney? How many remember the ‘New Lodge Milkman’ and his young son, murdered by a republican mob enraged because one of their Provo poster-boys had starved himself to death in prison?

Sectarian Shootings

Throughout the rest of 1981, PIRA/Sinn Fein took many more lives. As more Hunger Strikers died the republican ‘movement’  became ever more enraged and blood thirsty. On the 21st of July, John Hazlett (43), a Protestant builder, was shot dead by a Provo murder gang as he renovated premises at Bank Square, Maghera, Co. Londonderry. On the 11th of August, another Protestant civilian, Charles Johnston (43), was shot by a PIRA/SF gunman, riding pillion on a motorcycle, in a ‘drive-by’ type killing in Belfast. On the 8th of November, 1981, Trevor Foster (17), was killed by a Provo booby-trap bomb outside his parent’s home in Co. Armagh. Two days later, Charles Neville (56), was murdered by a Provo gun gang as he left his workplace in Loughgall, Co. Armagh. The most high profile of this series of sectarian murders took place in Belfast on the 14th of November, when once again, the Provisional IRA would demonstrate their deep rooted hatred for anything and anyone Protestant, Loyalist or Unionist.

PIRA psychopaths often carried out random sectarian killings.

PIRA psychopaths often carried out random sectarian killings.

Rev Robert Bradford was a Methodist minister and UUP MP for South Belfast. He was conducting a constituency surgery in Finaghy, Belfast, when shortly before 11.30am on Saturday, November 14, 1981, three armed PIRA members carrying ladders and dressed in painters’ boilersuits arrived at the community centre at Benmore Drive, which Rev. Bradford was using to meet constituents and hear their concerns. At first their arrival did not arouse suspicion; there was ongoing work at the centre. One of the gang members, carrying a sub-machine-gun, took up position at the front door. One of his accomplices shouted “freeze” before opening fire on the caretaker, 29-year-old Kenneth Campbell, who was returning to the centre after a break at his nearby home. He died at the scene. While one of the nationalist terrorists pinned an RUC bodyguard to the ground at gunpoint, another gunman quickly turned to Reverend Bradford, the gunman coldly opened fire, shooting him in the eye, chest, neck and ear. The 40-year-old father-of-one died instantly. When Rev. Bradford and Mr Campbell were shot, children at a kids’ disco in the community centre witnessed the horrific murders. A 15-year-old DJ described how he threw a chair at one of the killers while shouting at other children to dive for cover.  “The gunmen pushed the children out of the way as they made their way out of the building,” he added. An 11-year-old told reporters afterwards: “They shot the Rev. Bradford about six times. We were quite close by. The shots were very loud.” Provo killer gangs care little for the fate of bystanders, even children.

The Rev. Bradford had become a Methodist minister when he was just 22, turning his back on a career as a professional footballer with Sheffield Wednesday FC. He joined the UUP when he served as a minister in the Loyalist enclave of Suffolk in West Belfast and was elected MP for South Belfast in 1974. He was an outspoken critic of PIRA/Sinn Fein and had demanded the reintroduction of hanging for terrorist killers. Rev. Bradford’s widow, Norah, was 33 at the time of the killing. They had one daughter, Claire. Speaking after the murder, she told reporters:

“They have tried several times at the advice centre. They came at least two times before and they were caught out watching the advice centre, but he would not give it up just for them. He knew it would be the most likely place for them to get him. He never feared he would be attacked. He felt it was a possibility. He did not fear it.”

The murder of a Methodist minister should be ample evidence of the deeply sectarian nature of PIRA/Sinn Fein. What would have happened I wonder, if at any point in ‘The Troubles’, Loyalists had killed a Roman Catholic priest? Even a priest like James Chesney, an active PIRA terrorist who had a hand in the 1972 Claudy bombing?. Or his un-named confederate, also a Catholic priest, also involved in the Claudy bombing, who fled to New York in fear of his life?. What reaction would there have been in such a hypothetical scenario? One can only imagine the furious uproar in the media, the hysterical hand wringing from certain, dubious, Unionists (so-called Unionists to be more accurate), the crocodile tears of the Irish nationalist/republican leadership. Rev. Roy Bradford was not a Roman Catholic priest though. He was ‘just an auld Prod’. Therefore, in the eyes of our controlled media, his life had little value. In the wake of his murder (and that of Kenneth Campbell), there wasn’t much handwringing from the Irish nationalist community. No calls for the killers to be cast out of their midst. One is left to speculate why?

Protestant clergyman and Unionist MP Rev. Roy Bradford, murdered by Roman Catholic extremists- PIRA/SF

Protestant clergyman and Unionist MP, Rev. Roy Bradford, murdered by Roman Catholic extremists- PIRA/SF

When Irish nationalists deny that PIRA/SF carried out overtly sectarian murders, or when they deny that “da RA” deliberately targeted civilians, they are vomiting out a carefully crafted lie. Not just a lie, but a snide, sneering, disgusting insult. An insult to hundreds of dead innocents. An insult to those who dared take a stand against the loathsome bigots of PIRA/Sinn Fein. This lie, is not repeated out of ignorance, even the most cursory glance at the historical record would be enough to acquaint anyone with the real facts of the matter, rather it is repeated because of pure, raw, visceral hatred. Sectarian hatred. When some republican bigot attempts to assert that the Provo death squads were non-sectarian, or that they did not set out to deliberately murder civilians, they are mocking you. They are insulting you. They may as well be spitting in your face, and they know it! You see, Irish nationalists don’t care how many innocent people died at the hands of PIRA/SF. In their heart of hearts they don’t give a damn. That some nationalists publicly condemn the actions of the Provos is merely a matter of expediency. Irish nationalism is incapable of reform. It is irredeemable. Just like Nazism, Stalinism or Ba’athism.

Don’t be fooled by the saccharin sweet smiles, the politically correct language or the sharp suits. PIRA/Sinn Fein have no remorse for the murder and mayhem they inflicted on this society for 30 years. In fact, far from being remorseful or showing any kind of contrition, they revel in their past misdeeds. They gloat about the number of Protestants their murder-machine cut down. They praise and adulate their ‘fallen comrades’, men like Thomas Begley, sectarian mass-murderer, sent out by Provo godfathers to kill and maim as many Shankill Road residents as possible. Sadly for them though, there are those of us on the Loyalist side who do not forget and who are not easily fooled (or bought!). We know our enemy. We remember their evil deeds. To quote the motto of a certain secret intelligence agency- “We Do Not Forgive. We Do Not Forget”

NEXT WEEK: PART 7

 

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals, Part Five

La Mon: No Greater Mark of Shame

The Provisional IRA have many shameful episodes in their dark and shadowy history, the deliberate targeting and murder of civilians, the killing of infants, the ‘Disappeared’, all shameful, repugnant acts, but few PIRA/SF attacks were as shocking, as blatantly sectarian or as gruesome as the La Mon bombing. Not only because 12 Protestant civilians, the majority of them women, were murdered, but also because of the way in which they murdered. Not riddled with gunfire, not blown to pieces, but burned alive. Just let that sink in for a moment. Twelve innocent civilians burned alive. Some of those poor people burned beyond recognition. Can you imagine the agony, the suffering? Can you put yourself in the place of the relatives, given the grizzly task of identifying the charred remains of a sister, brother, daughter or spouse? I cannot begin to imagine what those families went through, what they must still go through on a daily basis, left traumatised and mentally scarred by the actions of a gang of cowardly, uneducated, delusional republican thugs.

The La Mon House hotel/restaurant sits in the Castlereagh hills, just outside Belfast. Today it is a popular venue for weddings and functions, just as it was in the 1970s. At that time in Ulster, dinner-dances were all the rage, with almost every club, association, society and fraternity in the country holding an annual dinner-dance. The Irish Collie Club and the Northern Ireland Junior Motorcycle Club were no different. The two clubs having hired out the ‘Peacock Room’ and the ‘Gransha Room’ of the La Mon hotel/restaurant respectively, to hold their annual functions. On the night of Friday the 17th of February, 1978, the two dinner-dances were underway. The diners had just sat down to the first course of their meal when a Provo incendiary device, comprised of a small blast-bomb attached to four large canisters filled with a Napalm like mixture of petrol and sugar, exploded outside the ‘Peacock Room’. (The sugar having been added to the mixture to make it stick to whatever it hit.) The device had been placed against one of the function room’s large picture windows and when it detonated the explosion created an instantaneous and devastating fireball, 40 feet high and 60 feet wide, which engulfed the room. A single, vague warning had been telephoned in by PIRA/Sinn Fein, just 9 minutes before the bomb exploded. Later they gave miserable excuses for having not given adequate warning and thus avoiding, or at least minimising, the number of deaths and devastating injuries, at one point the Irish nationalist murder gang even suggested that the huge loss of life was down to the UDR, a unit of the regiment having stopped the gang’s car after they had planted their deadly firebomb and were, supposedly, on their way to a public call-box to telephone in a warning. Anyone with even a small amount of knowledge about PIRA/Sinn Fein however can see through their pernicious lies and vile fabrications. An inadequate, deliberately vague warning was given so the Provos could murder as many Protestants as possible whilst still maintaining the pretence that they gave a prior warning in order to avoid casualties. A cynical tactic used by these fanatics all too often.

Gordon Crothers (30) and his wife Joan (26) murdered by PIRA/SF at La Mon for not being Roman Catholic.

Gordon Crothers (30) and his wife Joan (26) murdered by PIRA/SF at La Mon for not being Roman Catholic.

“Like a Scene From Hell”

The massive fireball that engulfed the ‘Peacock Room’ killed twelve people. Innocent civilians murdered because of their perceived religion. Thirty others suffered horrible burns. Young men and women were left disfigured. Others lost limbs. Some of those injured in the attack are still receiving treatment for their injuries over 35 years after the event! One witness to the carnage described it as being “like a scene from Hell”. The survivors, with their hair and clothing on fire, rushed to escape the burning room. It must surely have been a harrowing scene. It took firemen almost two hours to put out the blaze, such was the intensity of the fire. Some of the victims were found beneath a pile of hot ash and debris, charred beyond all recognition, making identifying them extremely difficult as all their individual human features had been completely burned away. Some of the bodies had shrunk so much in the intense heat, it was first believed that there were children among the victims. One doctor who saw the remains described them as being like “charred logs of wood”.

In the aftermath of the bombing most Protestants recognised it for what it was, a sectarian attack against their community. They called for a return of the death penalty. More than 2000 people attended a lunchtime service organised by the Orange Institution at City Hall in Belfast. Belfast International Airport shut for an hour, while many workers in Belfast and Larne stopped work for a time. Workers at a number of factories said they were contributing their half-day’s pay to a fund for the victims and their families. A team of 100 RUC detectives was deployed in the investigation. As part of the investigation, 25 people were arrested in Belfast, including Gerry Adams. Adams was released from custody in July 1978 and became President of Sinn Fein shortly after. There were just two prosecutions in relation to the La Mon massacre. A Belfast man was charged with the twelve murders but was acquitted. He was convicted of PIRA membership but successfully appealed. In September, 1981, another Belfast man, Robert Murphy, was given twelve life sentences for the manslaughter of those who died. He was freed from prison in 1995, having served just 14 years, a little over one years imprisonment for every life taken at La Mon. Why was this repellent, odious, repugnant creature not charged with 12 counts of murder? As is often the case in Ulster, one is left shaking one’s head in sheer disbelief.

Ethnic Cleansing Of Ulster’s Frontier 

It is very common in literature on Northern Ireland and ‘The Troubles’ to see it portrayed largely in terms of a dominant Protestant majority and a Catholic minority. In the border areas however, it was Protestants who were in the minority and who suffered for it. It has been ignored in large part because it does not fit into the ‘oppressive Protestants/oppressed Catholics’ dichotomy, and yet it is an element of Ulster’s recent past that cannot, and should not, be ignored. It is also one where the brutal sectarian dimension of PIRA/SF is undeniable: the relentless bombing of Protestant businesses, the burning of farms, the shooting up of farmhouses to force the occupants out, and the relentless campaign to kill Protestants (in and out of uniform). One tactic employed by the Irish nationalist murder gangs that roamed throughout the border areas was to kill the only son (often the only child) of middle-aged or elderly Protestant farmers, thus ensuring that ten, twenty or thirty years down the line there would be no-one to inherit the land and it would have to be sold. With many Protestants having been forced out, and with Protestants in the minority to begin with, the buyers of such properties would, almost inevitably, be Irish nationalists. 

This loathsome tactic was used again and again in parts of County Armagh, County Fermanagh, South Down and County Tyrone. Protestants in the affected areas (the few stalwarts who remain) can list literally dozens of names of victims of ‘Only Son Murders’. Of course, some of those killed were part-time members of the UDR, or RUC Reservists, thus giving PIRA/Sinn Fein a way to attempt to justify the killings. At other times such killings were put down to ‘mistaken identity’ or excused by saying that the dead man was ‘not the intended target’. Words used to masque the truth, the truth being that such murders were part of a systematic campaign of Ethnic Cleansing, perpetrated by the Provos against rural, peaceful, working class Protestant communities. 

Ethnic Cleansing: A tactic still employed by Irish nationalism, even now.

Ethnic Cleansing: A tactic still employed by Irish nationalism, even now.

Many of the victims of this tactic were men in their twenties. Unmarried men. The reasoning for this was as simple as it was brutal- ‘Kill the Orange bastards before they have a chance to breed’. You see dear reader, Irish nationalists and republicans are obsessed with numbers- 6, 26, 32, 81, 1798, 1916 etc etc. They are also, rather disturbingly, obsessed with the procreation and mating habits of Protestants. There are even a few Irish nationalist/Gaelic supremacist blogs dedicated to that very subject! In the minds of some of these extremist half-wits, a Roman Catholic majority in NI automatically means the creation of an all-island unitary state, because in their completely sectarian little minds, Roman Catholic and Irish nationalist/republican are interchangeable terms meaning one and the same thing. They endlessly postulate on when the ‘glorious dawn’ will come and Catholics will become a clear majority. They misread and blatantly falsify census data. And they are utterly pre-occupied with ‘non-Catholic’ birthrates. You see, according to the likes of ‘Ulster’s Doomed’ et al, all Protestants are impotent old coots, 70 or 80 years old, obstinately refusing to die just to spite the vibrant young Catholics with their football (sorry, I mean ‘soccer’) teams of rosy-cheeked children. I have even seen one such blog suggest that almost all the ‘Prods’  in one particular Ulster council area could be killed off by ‘one bad winter’ (quick, someone pass me my tartan blanket and slippers!), the borough in question by the way, is at present, around 76% Protestant. That alone should serve as ample illustration of the depths of Irish nationalist/republican delusion and their, quite frankly creepy, obsession with what their Protestant (and Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Atheist etc) neighbours do, or rather what they imagine they don’t do, in the bedroom. Is it any wonder that Irish nationalists have found they have so much in common with Hezbollah, Hamas and the fascist ‘Islamic State’? After all, religious fanatics are religious fanatics, it doesn’t really matter whether they’re firing rockets in Gaza or firing guns in Ardoyne, a zealot is a zealot.

PIRA/Sinn Fein used the Irish Republic as a safe haven from which to launch their campaign of ethnic cleansing

PIRA/Sinn Fein used the Irish Republic as a safe haven from which to launch their campaign of ethnic cleansing

There have been calls from Unionist politicians, for some sort of reparation to be made to those who were forced from their homes in border areas. It has also been suggested that the Dublin government should issue an apology for the documented collusion between ‘An Garda Síochána’ and the Provo death squads, as well as for giving republican gangs ‘safe haven’ in Eire. Of course such calls have, so far, fallen on deaf ears. The toxic and deeply biased Northern Ireland media don’t like to discuss such things. The wannabe ‘Guardianistas’ at Broadcasting House sneer at the very notion of Unionists/Loyalists being victims, or that the ‘RA’ were anything other than ‘freedom fighting revolutionaries’. Even former government employees have rubbished the idea of any kind of reparation or apology coming from the Irish government.  A former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, Sir Kenneth Bloomfield, who described the Provos border campaign as “pure ethnic cleansing”, has also said that it would be “fruitless” to even seek an apology from the current government of the Irish Republic, adding that “It is almost as if you are going to invite the current German government to apologise for the Holocaust.” I would tend to agree with Sir Kenneth. It would though, be hugely encouraging if the Unionist ‘mainstream’ were to make their calls for an apology a little louder and a little more persistent. I won’t hold my breath!

Mountbatten: There Were Other Victims Too!

Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the murder of Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl of Burma, and cousin of HM Queen Elizabeth II. Lord Mountbatten was murdered by Provisional IRA/Sinn Fein on the 27th of August, 1979, while holidaying in Eire. At the time of his death Irish nationalists and republicans celebrated wildly. A member of the Royal Family had been ‘taken out’ by their beloved PIRA, and on the same day as 18 soldiers were murdered at Narrow Water, near Warrenpoint in Co.Down. What had transpired in reality was that a Provo murder gang had blown up a 79 year old man, an 83 year old woman, and two young boys aged just 14 and 15. This was no ‘spectacular’, Mountbatten and his party were soft targets. Had one of the victims not been related to the Queen, this act would be seen for the atrocity that it was. Although, speaking from personal experience, I think the nationalist/republican community would have celebrated the murders anyway, even if Mountbatten had been Joe Bloggs from Manchester or Billy Bloggs from Portadown.

One of PIRA/SF's 'legitimate targets'. 15 year old Paul Maxwell

One of PIRA/SF’s ‘legitimate targets’. 15 year old Paul Maxwell

Lord Mountbatten and his family had traditionally spent their summer holiday at their castle at Mullaghmore in County Sligo, they had been doing so for many, many years. They did not try to keep their presence a secret. Local people would look forward to the arrival of Lord Mountbatten and his party. After all, they would provide a small but welcome boost for the village’s shopkeepers and did nothing to harm the reputation of the place as a quiet haven for tourists etc. On the morning of the 27th, Lord Mountbatten, his daughter and son-in-law, his daughter’s mother-in-law, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, the Earl’s twin grandsons, Nicholas and Timothy, and Paul Maxwell, a teenager from Fermanagh employed for the summer by Mountbatten, set out in the Earl’s 30ft sailboat, the ‘Shadow V’, when, a short distance from shore, at approximately 11:30 am, a bomb ripped through the vessel. The boat was destroyed by the force of the blast, and Lord Mountbatten’s legs were almost blown off. Mountbatten, then aged almost 80, was pulled alive from the water by nearby fishermen, but died from his injuries before being brought to shore. The Dowager Lady Brabourne was also pulled from the water alive, though terribly injured. She died the following day. The two boys, Mountbatten’s grandson Nicholas Knatchbull and Paul Maxwell, were killed instantly. Lord and Lady Brabourne, Mountbatten’s son-in-law and daughter, along with their other twin son Timothy, survived the explosion but were seriously injured.

In the immediate aftermath of the atrocity, while the bodies of the dead were still lying in Mullaghmore harbour, PIRA/Sinn Fein ‘President’ Gerry Adams crowed that “The IRA gave clear reasons for the execution. He knew the danger involved in coming to our country. In my opinion, the IRA achieved its objective”. He offered no words of apology for the murder of two children, or the killing of a frail 83 old woman. As he spoke he smiled broadly, truly the mark of a dangerous psychopath. How close he came to his comeuppance, when the Ulster Freedom Fighters came within a hair’s breadth of putting down this rabid dog in 1984 (his miserable life was saved by British soldiers, a fact conveniently forgotten by most Irish nationalists!). Adams has a very great deal of innocent blood on his hands, unsurprising then that he felt nothing for the lives of an old lady and two teenage boys. 

Unlike his fascist/supremacist killers, Lord Mountbatten took pride in enhancing intercultural understanding, and in 1984, with his elder daughter as the patron, the ‘Mountbatten Internship Programme’ was developed to allow young adults the opportunity to enhance their intercultural appreciation and experience by spending time abroad, immersing themselves in other cultures. The City Of Ottawa erected Mountbatten Avenue in his memory. The Avenue runs from Blossom Drive to Fairbanks Avenue. Lord Louis Mountbatten was not some boogeyman. He was not the ‘evil Brit imperialist’ that Irish nationalists made him out to be. What was the reason for his murder, aside from whom he happened to be related to? And why was being in this man’s company enough to earn Nicholas Knatchbull, Paul Maxwell and the Dowager Lady Brabourne a death sentence? I propose that they were murdered because the Provos hated the fact that Lord Mountbatten spent every summer in part of their territory. Or what they considered to be ‘their territory’. These Gaelic supremacist jackals simply couldn’t abide the fact that a cousin of HM Queen Elizabeth was happy and content to spend a few weeks of every year in the West of Ireland. Perhaps these deranged fascists thought that Mountbatten and his family might contaminate the ‘pure blooded Gaels’ of Co. Sligo with his Britishness. Their minds have been so warped by hatred, their judgement so impaired, their view of the world so skewed, that anything is possible. These are, after all, the same people who gave the order for 12 Protestant civilians to be burned alive, they are, in short, bloodthirsty thugs, and in any normal society they would now be snugly tucked up…below 6ft of topsoil.

NEXT WEEK: 1980/81 HORROR AFTER HORROR

PIRA/Sinn Fein: A Movement Without Morals (Part Two)

The Forgotten Atrocity

On Tuesday, the 12th of June, 1973, the Provisional IRA detonated two bombs in Coleraine, Co.Londonderry. The first device, 150 lb of explosives packed into a stolen Ford Cortina, went off at 3.00 p.m on Railway Rd, outside an off-license, killing six and injuring 33; several people lost limbs and several more were left crippled for life. Many of the wounded were children. A second bomb exploded five minutes later at Hanover Place. The Provos had sent a warning for the second bomb but said it had “mistakenly given the wrong location“. One would have thought that when dealing with deadly explosive devices the greatest care should be taken to avoid any error, PIRA/Sinn Fein though, did not give a damn about the deaths of civilians. Indeed I would contend that multiple civilian deaths was the very objective of such bombings.

The six innocent civilians killed by the Railway Road bomb were all Protestants, all over the age of 60. The victims were- Elizabeth Craigmile (76), Robert Scott (72), Dinah Campbell (72), Francis Campbell (70), Nan Davis (60), and Elizabeth Palmer (60). Elizabeth Craigmile, the Campbells and their daughter Hilary had been on a day outing and were beside the car-bomb at the moment of detonation. Hilary Campbell, whose parents had both been killed, lost a leg in the explosion. The bomb had left a deep crater in the road and the off-license was engulfed in flames; it also caused considerable damage to vehicles and other buildings in the vicinity. Railway Road was a scene of carnage and devastation, the mangled wreckage of the Cortina resting in the middle of the street, the bodies of the dead and injured lying in pools of blood amongst the fallen masonry and roof slates, shards of glass from blown-out windows blanketing the ground. Ambulance crews and firemen who arrived at the scene spoke of “utter confusion” with many people “wandering around in a state of severe shock“. Five minutes later, the second bomb exploded on the forecourt of Stuart’s Garage in Hanover Place. Although this explosion caused no injuries, it added to the panic and confusion caused by the first bomb. It also hindered the Emergency Services in their attempts to save the lives of the many seriously injured people on Railway Road. Undoubtedly this was the PIRA murder gang’s intention. Not content with causing horrific injuries, the unscrupulous killers seemed determined to hamper any effort to aid the wounded.

Only cowards murder pensioners, but what sort of people vote for such cowardly, murdering bastards?

Only cowards murder pensioners, but what sort of people vote for such cowardly, murdering bastards?

It has been alleged that no warning at all was given for the first bomb. This has led to speculation that the bombers intention was to draw people towards the bomb in Railway Road and inflict as many civilian casualties as possible. This would not be surprising given PIRA/Sinn Fein’s complete and total disregard for human life. Indeed, it would fit their modus operandi. The death toll would have been much, much higher had the bomb gone off just a few minutes later, when girls from a nearby school would have been leaving for home and walking along the street. In January 1974, a woman was acquitted of charges linked to the bombings. Her boyfriend however received an eight-year prison sentence for his part in the attacks, and the leader of the bomb team, 18-year-old Sean McGlinchey, was convicted of planting the Railway Road bomb. He was sentenced to just 18 years imprisonment in Long Kesh/The Maze. McGlinchey, the younger brother of former INLA ‘Chief of Staff‘ Dominic ‘Mad-Dog’ McGlinchey, later became a Sinn Fein councillor and, unbelievably, was elected mayor of Limavady in 2011. What sort of people go out and vote for a man that murdered six senior citizens? Throughout the conflict, the leadership of the Irish nationalist community (at that time mainly the SDLP) repeatedly gave assurances to their Protestant neighbours that the majority of Catholics and nationalists did not support the Provo death squads. Really? So then who’s voting for men like Sean McGlinchey? Ordinary, decent people in that community need to know, need to see, that every vote for Provisional Sinn Fein is a vote for those who murdered and maimed innocent women and children (or supported, aided and gave voice to those who did).

Birmingham Pub Bombings: Evil Beyond Belief 

Mention the Birmingham Pub Bombings to most people and the first thing many will say is “oh, the Birmingham Six“, to which the correct response should be, “no, the Birmingham Twenty-One”, for the focus should be on the twenty-one innocents slaughtered by Irish republican fanatics, not on the men wrongfully convicted of the crime! The Birmingham Six suffered an awful miscarriage of justice but it should never be forgotten that 21 people were murdered in cold blood, the majority of them under the age of 25.

On the 21st of November, 1974, a Provo bomb exploded inside the ‘Mulberry Bush’ pub. The bomb, containing 6lb of Gelignite and hidden inside a duffel-bag, went off at just after 8p.m. Ten people were killed and dozens wounded, many of them seriously. Police were attempting to clear the nearby ‘Tavern in the Town’ pub, on New Street, below King Edward House, when at 20:27 a second bomb exploded there, killing another eleven people and leaving many with appalling injuries. The bodies of the dead and injured were strewn about the ruined pub like ragdolls. The explosion was so powerful that several victims were blown through a brick wall into an area just below the main front entrance to King Edward House. Their bodies were wedged between the rubble and underground electric cables; it took hours for firemen to remove them. The scene was like something straight out of a horror film. The two devastated pubs were just 50yds apart. A third bomb had been left on nearby Hagley Road, but thankfully failed to explode.

A scene of devastation, Birmingham after the Provo's deadly bomb attacks.

A scene of devastation, Birmingham after the Provo’s deadly bomb attacks.

That PIRA/SF had set out that night to massacre innocent civilians is beyond question. However, I would also suggest a secondary, albeit subconscious, motivation. The Irish nationalist community, overlapping as it does with the Roman Catholic community, has always been deeply conservative in it’s attitudes. Despite the politically correct sound-bites of the nationalist/republican politicos, attitudes towards women, particularly young women, in that community have always been rather backwards and repressive. It is my contention that the real perpetrators of the Birmingham Pub Bombings, rather than being appalled by the deaths of so many young women, many of them just teenagers, would have , at least subconsciously, felt that those young English girls deserved their fate, for being out drinking and flirting with men, rather than being at home under the watchful eye of their fathers or brothers, as young women within the Irish nationalist community ‘back home‘ were expected to be, at least in those days. Like their friends in the Taliban or Hamas, the men of the Provisional IRA expected their women to do as they were told, be ‘seen and not heard’. I would argue that, deep down, the murderous scumbags that bombed those pubs were quietly pleased so many ‘English slags’ had been killed by their bomb. Perhaps I am completely wrong, it doesn’t really make much of a difference. The fact remains that PIRA/SF set out to murder as many civilians as they could. A final word about the Birmingham Six. PIRA/SF could have undermined those men’s convictions at any time. They could have ensured their convictions were overturned. Had the real bombers stepped forward, had they been big enough to take their punishment, those six innocent men would have walked free. To the Provos though, the Birmingham Six were expendable. They cared about their fate only marginally more than they cared about the fate of those they murdered and maimed.

The Second ‘Bloody Friday’

On Tuesday, 21st of January, 1975, the Provos set out to repeat the carnage and slaughter of ‘Bloody Friday’, that infamous day in July, 1972, when they had set off 26 bombs, killing eleven people and wounding 130 more. Now just two and a half years later, PIRA/Sinn Fein set out to do something similar. As the people of Belfast went about their daily routine, the Provo godfathers planned mass murder. Earlier that day they had sent out several young, misguided men to plant nine bombs across the city in crowded civilian areas. The intention was clear; to murder and maim as many innocent people as possible. Fortunately though, the Irish nationalist lunatic’s plans went awry. Two of the bombs were discovered and made safe by Army technical officers, the rest did explode but by some miracle no-one was injured. Details are sketchy but it seems that the RUC were vigilant and spotted some of the suspect vehicles containing the bombs, evacuating the areas in question before the bombs went off. Whatever the reason, vigilance or blind good fortune, the Provos were thwarted and many, many innocent lives were spared.

The people of Ulster had another slice of good luck that day. That morning two young republican thugs, John ‘Bap’ Kelly (26) and John Stone (23), had been dispatched towards Belfast city centre in a stolen car packed with explosives. No doubt instructed by their cowardly leaders to go out and ‘kill women and kids for Ireland’. The two would-be mass murderers set off, unaware that they were both about to pay for their actions with their lives. Just two more Irish republican gangsters who would die for nothing.

As the cowardly pair drove along Victoria Street, on the way to their intended target, the bomb they were transporting exploded prematurely, killing them both instantly. As their mortal remains were being scraped off the public highway, the leaders of the Provo’s ‘D Company, 2nd Battalion‘ met to discuss the failure of their attempt at mass murder. They undoubtedly knew that people would die that day, killed at the hands of PIRA/Sinn Fein, just not their people. Their intention was to murder people out shopping, eating in restaurants and cafes, mothers pushing prams down the street. It had not been their intention to kill two of their own members. I only regret that the doomed vehicle in which Kelly and Stone died had not been a mini-bus load of Provos. Maybe the violent death of 20 of their own men would have focussed the minds of the Provisional leadership, just as the killing of entire PIRA ‘Active Service Units‘, in Loughgall at the hands of the S.A.S and in Cappagh at the hands of the Ulster Volunteer Force, had focussed the minds of the republican leadership in Mid-Ulster in the late 80s and early 90s.

Next Week: Part Three, The Murder of Ross McWhirter the ‘Dolphin Restaurant’ shootings and the Balcombe Street Gang

 

 

 

 

 

Israel’s Reply To Provisional Sinn Fein

Irish Nationalist Antisemitism Raises Its Ugly Head, Yet Again!

Last week Sinn Fein members of Dublin City Council sent the Israeli embassy in Ireland a rambling, buzzword loaded letter, calling on the State of Israel to stop attacking Provisional Sinn Fein’s friends- Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Below is the reply sent to PSF by Israeli Ambassador Boaz Modai. Whilst social media is swamped by pro-Hamas propaganda, you’re much less likely to see the other side of the story, so please feel free to go to Israel In Ireland’s Facebook page, at-https://www.facebook.com/IsraelinIreland/posts/713745171996526?fref=nf and share this with as many people as possible. Thank you. 

"Share The Truth With The World"

“Share The Truth With The World”

“I wish that all those Sinn Fein activists who write us daily private messages in which they “send us back to Auschwitz” to stop their false comparison between the Irish and the Palestinians. FYI, here is the reply letter of the Israeli ambassador to the hostile Sinn Fein Councillor letter. I doubt it if most of their followers will ever read it. It’s probably much easier to remain ignorant, bash Israel and demonize it than to know the facts…

July 18th 2014
Dear Councillor,
I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated July 16th.
I reject out of hand your expression of ‘disgust’. Please excuse me if I missed a similar expression of ‘disgust’ from Sinn Fein representatives at the incessant and indiscriminate rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups. These attacks, which began in 2001 and escalated dramatically after Israel withdrew its army totally and evacuated all settlers from Gaza in 2005, have now reached the number of almost 15,000. Since the 12th of June, around 1,500 rockets, including Iranian Fajr-5 and long-range Syrian-made M302 missiles, have been launched at Israeli men, women and children. At this moment, 5 million people, a number greater than the population of Ireland, are exposed to rocket fire every day and night.

I may also have missed your expressions of disgust at the ever-mounting death toll of 170,000 Arab people, including 10,000 Palestinian Arabs, in the Syrian civil war, or the daily and weekly mass murder of innocent people in Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan by Islamist jihadists similar to those of Hamas. Just now, over 200 Nigerian Christian teenage schoolgirls remain in captivity three months after being abducted and enslaved by the jihadists of Boko Haram. I do not recall an expression of disgust at this horror, but forgive me if I missed it.

I will not accept a lecture about international law from Sinn Fein, an organisation with a long record of supporting Palestinian terrorism. In my letter to The Irish Times this week, which I would strongly recommend you read, I set out the legal position regarding, on the one hand, Hamas indiscriminate attacks on Israeli civilians (in violation of Articles 48 and 51 of the Geneva Convention Additional Protocol) and, on the other, Hamas’ use of Gazan civilians as human shields in order to maximize casualties to score PR victories against Israel (in violation of Articles 51(7) and 58 of the Protocol).At the same time, the cowardly leaders and commanders of Hamas hide in underground bunkers and tunnels.

It is no thanks to Hamas and the other terrorists that Israeli casualties are not greater. We in Israel invest a lot of money and effort in building the Iron Dome system, the bomb shelters and the safe rooms that protect our civilians from attack. The terrorists, by contrast, invest their funds in building a sophisticated infrastructure of tunnels and rocket launch facilities, but build nothing to protect the ordinary people under their rule or to improve the life conditions of the Palestinian civilians in Gaza.

The democratic (it is not a ‘claim’ but a reality) state of Israel has as its first duty to protect its citizens, Jewish, Arab and others from terrorist attack. The military operation launched by Israel, far from being ‘collective punishment’ of the Gazan population, is the very opposite of ‘indiscriminate’ – it is precisely targeted at Hamas command and control centres, rocket launch sites and terrorist operatives. Israel’s armed forces do all in their power, helped by the latest technology, to limit their attacks to legitimate military targets and to avoid harming the innocent civilians of Gaza. That cannot guarantee that mistakes will not happen. Even the best technology is subject to human error. Every innocent life lost on either side is a tragedy for us. But the sad reality is that, for Hamas, every Israeli death and injury is a cause for celebration and each Palestinian who loses his life is seen by them as a PR victory.

The Palestinian people are not our enemies. If Israel really wished to ‘slaughter’ them, as you allege, it has the firepower to do so many times over. Instead, it takes all possible steps to prevent harm to the people of Gaza, sending advance warnings of attacks by telephone calls, text messages and leaflets. The chief blame for the Palestinian death toll lies with the terrorists who rule their people with an iron hand and deliberately and cynically put them in harm’s way. Hamas is collectively punishing the citizens of Gaza and creating a genocide of its own people.

As is stated clearly in the Charter of Hamas (available on the internet for anyone to read) the goal of Hamas is the elimination of the state of Israel and the murder of every Jew. The prevention of this goal being realized is the chief reason why Israel must maintain its military strength. The people of Israel will keep up their resistance to Hamas aggression. As for your call to ‘lift the blockade of Gaza’, I can tell you that Israel will continue to do its utmost to cut off the smuggling of weaponry and the supply of materials used to build the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza. That will not lessen the inflow of food, energy and other necessary humanitarian supplies which Israel has maintained through every day of this conflict. In the last ten days, almost 700 trucks filled with humanitarian goods, food, medicine and other supplies have entered Gaza from Israel via the Kerem Shalom Crossing and almost 2000 people have crossed in and out of Gaza via the Erez Crossing.

No democratic country in the world would fail to take the actions undertaken by Israel if its civilians were under attack. True proportionality is not a matter of the relative tally of casualties on each side, but of doing what is necessary to eliminate the threat to civilians, and that is what Israel has been doing since 8 July. As public representatives, elected by the people of Dublin, I would like to respectfully suggest that you try to adopt a more balanced, rational and fair approach to what is a most complex conflict.

Yours sincerely
Boaz Modai
Ambassador of Israel,”

Israel should make no apology for defending itself

Israel should make no apology for defending itself

Ignorance and Hate Are Second Nature To PIRA/Sinn Fein 

The Northern Ireland media have dutifully ignored most of PSF’s attacks and tirades against Israel. Yet again acting as cheerleaders for republican extremism. Nobody can be allowed to see the repulsive antisemitism that lies at the very dark heart of Irish nationalism and republicanism. That Provisional Sinn Fein activists are sending messages of pure, racist hate (“go back to Auschwitz”) to anyone remotely connected to Israel is sickening yet sadly not surprising. This is the same disgusting, bigoted, twisted organisation that still pays homage to Irish nationalist Nazi collaborators like Sean Russell. 

The statue of Nazi collaborator Sean Russell which stands in Dublin's Fairview Park

The statue of Nazi collaborator Sean Russell which stands in Dublin’s Fairview Park

If the media will not act impartially, if they won’t point out PIRA/Sinn Fein’s inherent racism and antisemitism, if they will not do their jobs, then we, the people, will do it instead. The internet, and especially social media, now makes it possible for ordinary people, people like you and me, to ensure that the truth cannot be covered up. We will no longer accept the media’s drip feed of lies and half-truths. The world will see exactly what motivates Irish nationalism (hate, intolerance and rage) regardless of how Ulster’s media try to spin and propagandise on nationalism’s behalf. These are changing times. The old saying that “a lie can travel half way across the world before the truth gets out of bed” no longer holds true. Don’t let the professional liars spread their hate speech about Israel, don’t allow Sinn Fein to spread their antisemitic propaganda. Together we can expose these unreconstructed fascists!

“No legacy is so rich as honesty” –William Shakespeare 

COLLUSION: PART 1

PROLOGUE

If one were to believe the historical revisionism of Irish nationalists, one would come to the conclusion that Loyalist paramilitary groups were armed, trained, financed, directed & controlled by the British state. That is patently untrue. It is a spurious myth that is easily disproven. The Irish nationalist myth makers do not stop there however, because they would also have the world believe that despite such external aid, that Loyalism was incapable of taking the war to their enemies & that republican groups, such as the Provisional IRA, received no outside aid from any source, nor at any time colluded with any third party. The motivation for such irresolute lies is not difficult to understand. Irish nationalism, especially the more extreme varieties, likes to portray the Northern Ireland conflict in a very simple, black & white, way. In the Irish nationalist/republican narrative it is always simply a matter of ‘native Irish gael’ versus the ‘evil Brit occupier’. Loyalists & Unionists do not figure in this fable because republicanism has always insisted that Loyalism & Unionism doesn’t count. Indeed, many Irish nationalists still cling to the ludicrous notion that in the event of a ‘united Ireland’, NI’s pro-Union population will simply throw up their arms, realise the error of their ways & somehow become enthusiastic little Irish men & women, virtually overnight! To concede the fact that Loyalist groups were effective & sophisticated, to concede the fact that they were not controlled, nor armed, trained or funded, by the British state, means by default, conceding that Loyalism was/is a major player within Northern Ireland, undermines some fairly basic republican ideological tenets & complicates the simplistic ‘native vs occupier’ narrative so oft repeated by organisations like INLA/IRSP, PSF & now the multitudinous ‘dissident’ groups which seem to be popping up like mushrooms. Don’t just take my word for it though. Let’s examine the facts, then you can decide for yourself

 

“TIS WELL THAT WAR IS SO TERRIBLE…”

Those Irish nationalists & republicans that uncritically digest the propaganda spoon-fed to them by their socio-political leaders, often demonstrate their pitiful knowledge of ‘The Troubles’ by alleging that the UVF & Ulster Freedom Fighters killed only a mere handful of active republicans during the long years of conflict. It’s a claim so imbecilic that I usually deem it unworthy of reply. In the interests of historical accuracy however, I will quickly expose this pernicious lie (whilst trying not to laugh)

It is claimed that Loyalist groups only ever managed to kill “a handful” of republicans, others claim they killed only 40 republicans throughout the entire conflict (& often cite the deeply flawed CAIN website to back this up) So let’s look at the facts-

Off the top of my head I can name, err, probably ten or twelve very senior republicans killed by the UVF or UFF. But let’s go back to the beginning, to the start of the erroneously titled ‘Troubles’. In August, 1969, Gerard McCauley, an IRA gunman (this of course is prior to the Official/Provisional split, hence McCauley is classified simply as ‘IRA’) was shot dead by a Loyalist sniper during a gunbattle in the Bombay Street area, off the Falls Road in west Belfast. During 1971 & 72 Loyalists killed another five republican terrorists/paramilitaries. Four members of the Provisional IRA & one member of the paramilitary Catholic Ex-Servicemen’s Association, which is now almost completely forgotten. The CEA was an Irish nationalist organisation set up in 1971, with the stated aim of “protecting Catholic areas”. It’s founding member was Phil Curran who, in common with other members, had previous military training. The CEA was paramilitary in nature. At its most active, in 1972, it had a claimed membership of 8,000. There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that the CEA was also extensively involved in training both major factions of the IRA (Official & Provisional) at that time, & that some CEA members actively engaged in ‘offensive actions’ against the Loyalist/Unionist community (despite their claim to be merely ‘defending’ Catholic neighbourhoods) with the CEA accused of carrying out bomb & gun attacks which were later claimed to be the work of either the OIRA or PIRA. In 1973 Loyalists killed another four Irish nationalist/republican ‘footsoldiers’, 2 members of PIRA/SF, one Official IRA man & one senior CEA member. In 1974 another four, 2 PIRA/SF, 1 OIRA & 1 CEA. In 1975 & 1976 ten more republicans, of all ranks, were killed by the UFF, UVF & RHC, including senior PSF activist Colm Mulgrew & PSF Vice-President Máire Drummshot dead in a joint UFF/UVF operation as she recovered from a minor operation in the Mater Hospital in Belfast. Six more republicans, including OIRA ‘Chief of Staff’, Joe McKee, were killed by Loyalist groups in the last years of the 1970s, bringing to 30 the total number killed between 1969 & 1979. There are of course other dubious or contested instances, where it cannot be proven conclusively that deceased individual was, as claimed, a member of OIRA, PIRA, CEA, INLA etc, but where there is some evidence to support such claims. Of course it was republican policy not to ‘claim’ members who had meet a violent death at the hands of the UVF or Ulster Freedom Fighters, in instances where the dead individual could not be positively tied to the republican movement (an example of ‘plausible deniability). This was done for three reasons. Firstly, groups such as PIRA, INLA etc did not wish to appear vulnerable to Loyalist attack. Secondly, there was the issue of compensation to the victim’s family (NIO compensation would not be paid out to the families of proven terrorists) Thirdly, it is much easier to illicit public & political sympathy for an ‘innocent man’ coldly executed by Loyalist gunmen, rather than a dedicated terrorist, who ‘lived by the gun’ & consequently died by that same instrument.

During the 1980s, the level of Loyalist paramilitary activity decreased, due in part to the fact that the Security Forces seemed to finally be making inroads against Irish nationalist terror gangs, but Irish nationalist/republican activists were still being targeted & killed with some regularity. In the opening years of that decade, there were the UFF ‘shopping list’ killings, were the Ulster Freedom Fighters targeted & eliminated the leadership of the INLA/IRSP & the ‘Anti H-Blocks/Armagh Committee’. In 1980 & 81 Loyalists killed six republican activists, including the INLA terrorist godfathers ( & godmother?), Bunting, Lyttle & Daly. In 1981 the UVF executed James ‘Skipper’ Burns, the most senior member of the Provos to be killed during the conflict. The so-called quartermaster of PIRA’s ‘Northern Command’ was killed as he lay sleeping. His killer, armed with a 9mm pistol & silencer, shot Burns dead & escaped without waking Burns’ girlfriend, who lay sleeping beside him & did not realise he was dead until she woke in the morning. The rest of the decade saw a further 13 Irish nationalist/republican activists, including senior Provos such as Brendan ‘Ruby’ Davidson & Lawrence Marley, killed by the UVF, UFF, PAF & RHC.

INLA/IRSP leader Ronnie Bunting, shot dead along with his fellow terrorist, Noel Lyttle, by the UFF, 1981

INLA/IRSP leader Ronnie Bunting, shot dead along with his fellow terrorist, Noel Lyttle, by the UFF, 1981

A TIME TO KILL

The 1990s (up until the CLMC ceasefire in October ’94) saw an escalation of Loyalist violence. The UFF & UVF began to strike at the very heart of violent republicanism, again & again. In 1990, five members of PIRA/SF were killed, three of whom were convicted terrorists. In 1991, nine members of PIRA/SF & the IPLO were killed, including such ‘luminaries’ as Pádraig ‘Paddy’ O’Seanacháin, a senior member of PIRA/SF in West Tyrone, Tommy Donaghy, a senior ‘officer’ in the Provos ‘South Derry Brigade’ & IPLO ‘Chief of Staff’ Martin ‘Rook’ O’Prey, both of whom were shot on the same day, the 16th of August, in separate UFF & UVF operations in South Londonderry & West Belfast. On the 3rd of March that year, half of a local PIRA Active Service Unit, 3 men (Quinn, O’Donnell & Nugent), were shot & killed by Mid-Ulster UVF outside Boyle’s Bar in the republican stronghold of Cappagh, Co Tyrone.The UVF later released a statement claiming responsibility & stating: “This was not a sectarian attack on the Catholic community, but was an operation directed at the very roots of the Provisional IRA command structure in the Armagh–Tyrone area”. The statement concluded that “if the Provisional IRA were to cease its campaign of terror, the Ulster Volunteer Force would no longer deem it necessary to continue with such military operations”. 1992 saw another six republicans killed by Loyalists, with 4 more killed in 1993, including senior ‘South Derry’ Provo, James Kelly, whose death lead one UFF spokesman to quip- “For the Provos in South Londonderry to lose one CO could be seen as unfortunate, but to lose two in the space of 18 months just smacks of carelessness”. In the ten months of 1994 prior to the Loyalist ceasefire, three more republicans lost their lives at the hands of Loyalist paramilitary units, bringing the total number killed to 27, in less than five years. Again there are those whom Loyalists would consider to have been legitimate targets that republicans would maintain were ‘innocent men’. Indeed, this category may well run to at least 40 or 50 names, if not more. Men like James Kerr, shot dead by the Red Hand Commando in 1972. Kerr is listed by CAIN as a “Catholic civilian” but the republican National Graves Association maintains his final resting place & in one of their publications, ‘Republican Belfast Graves’, Kerr is named as a member of the Provisional IRA. Such muddying of the waters reminds me of an incident in 1991. A notorious republican & self confessed Provo had just been killed by the UFF, the media was on the scene & the family was being interviewed. The dead man’s widow was asked why he was killed, between sobs she stated “They shot him because he was a Catholic. Our ___ wasn’t involved in nothing political, he was an innocent man”. A few hours later, that “innocent man” was ‘claimed’ by the local PIRA as being one of their ‘volunteers’ (something they probably felt they couldn’t avoid, given the man’s notoriety). Someone was clearly out of the loop on that one! Either the dead man’s wife did not know he was a republican terrorist, or more probably, had been told that, in the event of anything happening to him, she was to deny everything, & being a good little republican, she did as she was told, not realising that it would backfire rather spectacularly & make all concerned look both dishonest & incompetent. There is also the issue of those categorised as ‘innocent civilians’ who were, nonetheless, regarded as legitimate targets by Loyalist paramilitary groups. Members of the GAA for instance, which provided financial & moral support to Irish nationalism & republicanism throughout the conflict, were often targeted & killed. Members of the West Belfast Taxi Association too were regarded as legitimate targets, since that organisation was widely perceived as being a front for the Provisional IRA.  The SDLP & Workers Party have also lost members to Loyalist actions. Though it is interesting to note that only one such organisation, PIRA/SF, complains about alleged collusion & seems unable to accept the conflict related deaths of their comrades.

The aftermath of the assassination of a PIRA member by South Londonderry UFF. Kilrea, 1991.

The aftermath of the assassination of a PIRA member by South Londonderry UFF. Kilrea, 1991.

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES?

Of course, when confronted with the facts, most Irish nationalists & republicans will simply shrug their shoulders & dismiss anything which does not fit with their skewed version of events, but some will no doubt concede that, yes, Loyalists could & did strike at the very heart of the republican war machine, but of course they will tell anyone fool enough to listen, that was only because the UFF, UVF & RHC were acting as proxies for the British state. That claim would be a hell of a lot more plausible if were not for a few inconvenient facts. Like why did the ‘Brits’ spend so much time & energy trying to prevent Loyalist groups obtaining arms? For instance, the massive UVF arms shipment intercepted by the Security Services (MI5) at Teesport, England, in November of 1993. Surely the British state, if they were the benefactors & backers of organisations like the UVF, would welcome their purchase of 300 assault rifles, dozens of handguns & well over two tonnes of plastic explosive? Why, if republican claims have any veracity, would the security apparatus of the UK move to prevent such a restocking of the UVF’s arsenal? A few years earlier, in 1988, the Security Forces had also moved against the UFF in similar fashion, seizing part of a Lebanese arms shipment consisting of 30 handguns, 61 AK-47 assault rifles, 150 grenades & more than 11,000 rounds of ammunition.

Part of a UDA/UFF arms shipment. Imported from Lebanon, seized by the Security Forces, near Portadown, Jan.1988.

Part of a UDA/UFF arms shipment. Imported from Lebanon, seized by the Security Forces, near Portadown, Jan.1988.

And what of the Loyalists killed by the Security Forces within Northern Ireland? Or the thousands who were locked away for years in the nissen huts, & then the H-blocks, of Long Kesh? Were the female UVF & UFF volunteers incarcerated in Armagh gaol, ‘proxies of the British state’? Was Billy Wright a puppet of the ‘Brits’ when they colluded with the INLA/IRSP to facilitate his murder? What of the homes of suspected Loyalist activists, trashed as thoroughly by the RUC & Army, as any home in the Bogside or South Armagh? Do Irish nationalists really believe that UVF & UFF volunteers held at Castlereagh Holding Centre, were treated any less inhumanely or threatened any less frequently than INLA, IPLO or PIRA men? If Loyalists were in cahoots with the Security Forces, the RUC & Army seem to have been very dubious friends indeed! The inconvenient truth is, the state would have, given the opportunity, smashed Loyalism into the ground, then concentrated on Irish nationalism. Indeed, the fact that a new offence of “Directing Terrorism” was put on the statute books, just to take Johnny Adair off the streets of West Belfast, speaks volumes about the relationship between Loyalism & the Establishment. The state could have armed, organised & trained their own proxy force, recruited from ex-Army personnel within the Loyalist/Unionist community, had they so wished, & turned them loose on republicans. They could have ‘adopted’ one of the Loyalist paramilitary groups as their own. Removed senior people & put their own stooges in their place, then directed & controlled that group as they saw fit. They didn’t & that leaves one asking- why didn’t they? The only logical answer is, they preferred not to take sides & wiping Irish nationalism off the face of the Earth would not have been advantageous to them. Better to simply give a ‘nudge’ or two when required & keep both sides more or less equal in capacity. Successive UK governments did not want a Loyalist victory in Northern Ireland, they wanted a long-term political solution and/or a Security Force victory. The government & Security Service had equal disdain for both sides in the Ulster conflict, although to quote one former agent of the state “I always preferred the Orangies, because unlike the Provos, they recognised that if they wanted to play with the big boys, then it was big boys rules!”

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

The truth is always more complex than propaganda. There is no black & white in history, especially very recent history. There are only shades of grey. Did individual members of the Security Forces pass information to Loyalists? Yes, they did. Sometimes. UDR & (less frequently) RUC personnel became so disillusioned, so disgusted at the nihilistic violence & indiscriminate bombing of republican gangs, that yes they gave snippets of information to known UFF, UVF & RHC members. UDR & RUC personnel also engaged in careless talk, in bars, in clubs, at football matches etc. Loyalists have ears (they’re just below our horns!) & loose talk is almost always overheard by someone (hence the name ‘loose talk’) There were also times when information came from higher up. There were times when it suited the Security Services to get certain people ‘out of the way’ (permanently). MI5 have a way of getting what they want (RUC Special Branch too) But that went for both sides. Did the Security Services also sometimes steer republican groups towards a certain target? Yes, undoubtedly. The truth is that ‘The Troubles’ was a dirty, grubby war. Both sides, Loyalist & republican, were sometimes played off each other. Republicans took information they were given about Loyalists, despite their professed hatred of the ‘Brits’. Loyalists took information given to them about republicans, despite the fact that all such information should have been treated as deeply suspect. Were the UFF, UVF, RHC & other Loyalist organisations mere puppets of MI5, the UK government, RUC SB or a combination of all three? No, they were not. Were Loyalist groups funded, armed, directed, trained and/or controlled by the British state? No, they were not. Had they been, to put it crudely, there would not have been enough Irish nationalists/republicans left to complain about it!

TO BE CONTINUED…

The history of collusion is not just about alleged collusion between the state & Loyalist forces. Nor about collusion between ‘dark forces’ within the security apparatus & players on both sides of the divide. There was some institutional collusion between state & armed groups, but the state in question was not the British state, it was the Irish state. In the next part we will look at how the Dublin government of the time, funded, armed & helped to organise the Provisional IRA & how organs of that state (most notably elements within An Garda Síochána) colluded with PIRA/SF in the murder of British citizens. To be continued…